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" ARISTODEMUS," Sec. &c. 

' Thou cem'st in such a questionable shape, 

That I will speak to thee!" 



VOL. I. 







VOL. I. 

I. Introduction 1 

II. The Dweller in the Temple . . . . 24 
III. Waking and Sleeping, and how the Dweller 

in the Temple sometimes looks abroad . 4 1 

IV. Allegorical Dreams, Presentiments, &c. . . 95 

V. Warnings 107 

VI. Double Dreaming and Trance, Wraiths, &c. . 165 
VII. Wraiths . . . . . . .222 

VIII. Doppelgangers, or Doubles . . . . 258 

IX. Apparitions . . ... . .300 

X. The Future that awaits us . . 361 



IN my late novel of " Lilly Dawson," I an- 
nounced my intention of publishing a work 
to be called " The Night Side of Nature ;" 
this is it. 

The term " Night Side of Nature " I borrow 
from the Germans, who derive it from the 
astronomers, the latter denominating that side 
of a planet which is turned from the sun, its 
night side. We are in this condition for a 
certain number of hours out of every twenty- 
four; and as, during this interval, external 
objects loom upon us but strangely and im- 
perfectly, the Germans draw a parallel betwixt 

vi'ii PREFACE. 

If I could only induce a lew capable persons, 
instead of laughing at these things, to look at 
them, my object would be attained, and I 
should think my time well spent. 





' ; Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that 
the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?" 

1. Cor., 3c., 16 v. 

MOST persons are aware that the Greeks and 
Romans entertained certain notions regarding 
the state of the soul, or the immortal part of 
man, after the death of the body, which have 
been generally held to be purely mytho- 
logical. Many of them, doubtless, are so; 
and of these I am not about to treat ; but 
amongst their conceptions, there are some 
which, as they coincide with the opinions of 
many of the most enlightened persons of the 
VOL. i. B 


present age, it may be desirable to consider 
more closely. I allude here particularly to 
their belief in the tripartite kingdom of the 
dead. According to this system, there were 
the Elysian fields, a region in which a certain 
sort of happiness was enjoyed ; and Tartarus, 
the place of punishment for the wicked ; each 
of which were, comparatively, but thinly in- 
habited. But there was, also, a mid-region, 
peopled with innumerable hosts of wandering 
and mournful spirits, who, although under- 
going no torments, are represented as inces- 
santly bewailing their condition, pining for 
the life they once enjoyed in the body, longing 
jitter the things of the earth, and occupying 
themselves with the same pursuits and objects, 
as had formerly constituted their business or 
their pleasure. Old habits are still dear to 
them, and they cannot snap the link that 
binds them to the earth. 

Now, although we cannot believe in the 
existence of Charon, the three-headed dog, or 
Alecto, the serpent-haired fury, it may be 
worth while to consider whether the per- 
suasion of the ancients with regard to that 
which concerns us all so nearly, namely, the 
destiny that awaits us when we have shaken 
off this mortal coil, may not have some foun- 


dation in truth : whether it might not be a 
remnant of a tradition transmitted from the 
earliest inhabitants of the earth, wrested by 
observation from nature, if not communicated 
from a higher source : and, also, whether cir- 
cumstances of constant recurrence in all ages 
and in all nations, frequently observed and re- 
corded by persons utterly ignorant of classical 
lore, and unacquainted, indeed, with the 
dogmas of any creed but their own, do not, 
as well as various passages in the Scriptures, 
afford a striking confirmation of this theory of 
a future life ; whilst it, on the other hand, offers 
a natural and convenient explanation of their 

To minds which can admit nothing but what 
can be explained and demonstrated, an investi- 
gation of this sort must appear perfectly idle ; 
for whilst, on the one hand, the most acute 
intellect or the most powerful logic can throw 
little light on the subject, it is, at the same 
time though I have a confident hope that this 
will not always be the case equally irreducible 
within the present bounds of science ; mean- 
while, experience, observation, and intuition, 
must be our principal, if not our only guides. 
Because, in the seventeenth century, credulity 
outran reason and discretion ; the eighteenth 


century, by a natural re-action, threw itself 
into an opposite extreme. Whoever closely 
observes the signs of the times, will be aware 
that another change is approaching. The 
contemptuous scepticism of the last age is 
yielding to a more humble spirit of enquiry ; 
and there is a large class of persons amongst 
the most enlightened of the present, who are 
beginning to believe, that much which they 
had been taught to reject as fable, has been, in 
reality, ill- understood truth. Somewhat of the 
mystery of our own being, and of the mysteries 
that compass us about, are beginning to loom 
upon us as yet, it is true, but obscurely; and,in 
the endeavour to follow out the clue they offer, 
we have but a feeble light to guide us. We 
must grope our way through the dim path 
before us, ever in danger of being led into error, 
whilst we may confidently reckon on being 
pursued by the shafts of ridicule that weapon 
so easy to wield, so potent to the weak, so 
weak to the wise which has delayed the 
births of so many truths, but never stifled one. 
The pharisaical scepticism which denies with- 
out investigation, is quite as perilous, and 
much more contemptible than the blind cre- 
dulity which accepts all that it is taught 
without enquiry; it is, indeed, but another 


form of ignorance assuming to be knowledge. 
And by investigation, I do not mean the hasty, 
captious, angry notice of an unwelcome fact, 
that too frequently claims the right of pro- 
nouncing on a question ; but the slow, modest, 
pains-taking examination, that is content to 
wait upon nature, and humbly follow out her 
disclosures, however opposed to pre-conceived 
theories or mortifying to human pride. If 
scientific men could but comprehend how they 
discredit the science, they really profess, by 
their despotic arrogance, and exclusive scep- 
ticism, they would surely, for the sake of that 
very science they love, affect more liberality 
and candour. This reflection, however, natu- 
rally suggests another, namely, do they really 
love science, or is it not too frequently with 
them but the means to an end ? Were the love 
of science genuine, I suspect it would produce 
very different fruits to that which we see borne 
by the tree of knowledge, as it flourishes at 
present; and this suspicion is exceedingly 
strengthened by the recollection, that amongst 
the numerous students and professors of 
science I have at different times encountered, 
the real worshippers and genuine lovers of it, 
for its own sake, have all been men of the most 
single, candid, unprejudiced, and enquiring 
B 5 


minds, willing to listen to all new suggestions, 
and investigate all new facts ; not bold and 
self-sufficient, but humble and reverent suitors, 
aware of their own ignorance and un worthiness, 
and that they are yet but in the primer of nature's 
works, they do not permit themselves to pro- 
nounce upon her disclosures, or set limits to 
her decrees. They are content to admit that 
things new and unsuspected-may yet be true; that 
their own knowledge of facts being extremely 
circumscribed, the systems attempted to be 
established on such, uncertain data, must needs 
be very imperfect, and frequently altogether 
erroneous ; and that it is therefore their duty, 
as it ought to be'their pleasure, to welcome as 
a stranger every gleam of light that appears in 
the horizon, let it loom from whatever quarter 
it may. 

But, alas ! Poor science has few such lovers ! 
Les beaux y eux de sa cassette, I fear, are much 
more frequently the objects of attraction than 
her own fair face. 

The belief in a God, and in the immortality 
of what we call the soul, is common, to all 
nations ; but our own intellect does not enable 
us to form any conception of either one or the 
other. All the information we have on these 
subjects is comprised in such hints as the Scrip- 


tares here and there give us ; whatever other 
conclusions we draw, must be the result of ob- 
servation and experience. Unless founded 
upon these, the opinion of the most learned 
theologian, or the most profound student of 
science that ever lived, is worth no more than 
that of any other person. They know nothing 
whatever about these mysteries; and all a 
priori reasoning on them is utterly valueless. 
The only way, therefore, of attaining any 
glimpses of the truth in an enquiry of this 
nature, where our intellect can serve us so 
little, is to enter-on it with the conviction that, 
knowing nothing, we are not entitled to reject 
any evidence that may be offered to us, till it 
' has been thoroughly sifted, and proved to be 
fallacious. That the facts presented to our 
notice appear to us absurd, and altogether 
inconsistent with the notions our intellects 
would have enabled us to form, should have 
no weight whatever in the investigation. Our 
intellects are no measure of God Almighty's 
designs ; and, I must say, that I do think one 
of the most irreverent, dangerous, and sinful 
things man or woman can be guilty of, is 
to reject with scorn and laughter any intima- 
'tion which, however strangely it may strike 
upon our minds, and however adverse it may 


be to our opinions, may possibly be showing 
us the way to one of God's truthsv Not know- 
ing all the conditions, and wanting so many 
links of the chain, it is impossible for us to 
pronounce on what is probable and consistent, 
and what is not ; and, this being the case, I 
think the time is ripe for drawing attention to 
certain phenomena, which, under whatever 
aspect we may consider them, are, beyond 
doubt, exceedingly interesting and curious; 
whilst, if the view many persons are disposed 
to take of them be the correct one, they are 
much more than this. I wish, also, to make 
the English public acquainted with the ideas 
entertained on these subjects by a large pro- 
portion of German minds of the highest order. 
It is a distinctive characteristic of the thinkers 
of that country, that, in the first place, they do 
think independently and courageously; and, 
in the second, that they never shrink from 
promulgating the opinions they have been led 
to form, however new, strange, heterodox, or 
even absurd, they may appear to others. They 
do not succumb, as people do in this country, 
to the fear of ridicule ; nor are they in danger 
of the odium that here pursues those who 
deviate from established notions ; and, the con- 
sequence is, that, though many fallacious 


theories and untenable propositions may be 
advanced, a great deal of new truth is struck 
out from the collision ; and in the result, as 
must always be the case, what is true lives and 
is established, and what is false dies and is 
forgotten. But here, in Britain, our critics and 
colleges are in such haste to strangle and 
put down every new discovery that does not 
emanate from themselves, or which is not a ful- 
filling of the ideas of the day, but which, being 
somewhat opposed to them, promises to be 
troublesome from requiring new thought to 
render it intelligible that one might be in- 
duced to suppose them divested of all confi- 
dence in this inviolable law ; whilst the more 
important, and the higher the results involved 
may be, the more angry they are with those 
who advocate them. They do not quarrel 
with a new metal or a new plant, and even a 
new comet or a new island, stands a fair chance 
of being well received ; the introduction of a 
planet appears, from late events, to be more diffi- 
cult; whilst phrenology and mesmerism testify, 
that any discovery tending to throw lighten what 
most deeply concerns us, namely, our own 
being, must be prepared to encounter a storm 
of angry persecution. And one of the evils of 
this hasty and precipitate opposition is, that 


the passions and interests of the opposers be- 
come involved in the dispute ; instead of in- 
vestigators, they become partisans ; having 
declared against it in the outset, it is important 
to their petty interests that the thing shall 
not be true ; and they determine that it Khali 
not, if they can help it. Hence, these hasty, 
angry investigations of new facts, and the 
triumph with which failures are recorded ; 
and hence the wilful overlooking of the 
axiom, that a thousand negatives cannot over- 
throw the evidence of one affirmative ex- 
periment. I always distrust those who have 
declared themselves strongly in the beginning 
of a controversy. Opinions which however 
rashly avowed, may have been honest at first, 
may have been changed for many a long day 
before they are retracted. In the mean time, 
the march of truth is obstructed, and its 
triumph is delayed ; timid minds are alarmed ; 
those who dare not, or cannot, think for 
themselves, are subdued ; there is much need- 
less suffering incurred, and much good lost ; 
but the truth goes quietly on its way, and 
reaches the goal at last. 

With respect to the subjects I am here going 
to treat of, it is not simply the result of my 
own reflections and convictions that I am about 


to offer. On the contrary, I intend to fortify 
ray position by the opinions of many other 
writers; the chief of whom will, for the reasons 
above given, namely, that it is they who have 
principally attended to the question, be 
Germans. I am fully aware that in this country 
a very considerable number of persons lean to 
some of these opinions, and I think I might 
venture to assert that I have the majority on 
my side, as far as regards ghosts for it is 
beyond a doubt that many more are disposed 
to believe than to confess and those who do 
confess, are not few. The deep interest with 
which any narration of spiritual appearances 
bearing the stamp, or apparent stamp, of authen- 
ticty is listened to in every society, is one proof 
that, though the fear of ridicule may suppress, 
it cannot extinguish that intuitive persuasion, of 
which almost every one is more or less conscious. 
I avow that, in writing this book, I have a 
higher aim than merely to afford amusement. 
I wish to engage the earnest attention of my 
readers ; because I am satisfied that the 
opinions I am about to advocate, seriously en- 
tertained, would produce very beneficial results. 
We are all educated in the belief of a future 
state, but how vague and ineffective this belief 
is with the majority of persons, we too well 


know ; for although, as I have said above, the 
number of those who are what is called believers 
in ghosts, and similar phenomena, is very large ; 
it is a belief that they allow to sit extremely 
lightly on their minds. Although they feel 
that the evidence from within and from with- 
out is too strong to be altogether set aside, 
they have never permitted themselves to weigh 
the significance of the facts. They are afraid of 
that bugbear, Superstition a title of oppro- 
brium which it is very convenient to attach to 
whatever we do not believe ourselves. They 
forget that nobody has a right to call any be- 
lief superstitious, till he can prove that it is 
unfounded. Now, no one that lives can assert 
that the re-appearance of the dead is impos- 
sible ; all ke has a right to say is, that he does 
not believe it; and the interrogation that 
should immediately follow this declaration is, 
" Have you devoted your life to sifting all the 
evidence that has been adduced on the other 
side, from the earliest periods of history and 
tradition ?" and even though the answer were 
in the affirmative, and that the investigation 
had been conscientiously pursued, it would be 
still a bold enquirer that would think himself 
entitled to say, the question was no longer 
open. But the rashness and levity with which 


mankind make professions of believing and 
disbelieving, are, all things considered, pheno- 
mena much more extraordinary than the most 
extraordinary ghost-story that was ever related. 
The truth is, that not one person in a thousand, 
in the proper sense of the word, believes any- 
thing; they only fancy they believe, because 
they have never seriously considered the mean- 
ing of the word and all that it involves. That 
which the human mind cannot conceive of, is apt 
to slip from its grasp like water from the hand ; 
and life out of the flesh falls under this category. 
The observation of any phenomena, therefore, 
which enabled us to master the idea, must 
necessarily be extremely beneficial ; and it must 
be remembered, that one single thoroughly 
well-established instance of the re-appearance 
of a deceased person, would not only have this 
effect, but that it would afford a demonstrative 
proof of the deepest of all our intuitions, 
namely, that a future life awaits us. 

Not to mention the modern Germans of emi- 
nence, who have devoted themselves to this 
investigation, there have been men remarkable 
for intellect in all countries, who have con- 
sidered the subject worthy of enquiry. 
Amongst the rest, Plato, Pliny, and Lucien ; 
and in our own country, that good old divine, 

VOL. i. c 


Dr. Henry Moore, Dr. Johnson, Addison, Isaac 
Taylor, and many others. It may be objected 
that the eternally quoted case of Nicolai, the 
bookseller at Berlin, and Dr. Ferriar's " Theory 
of Apparitions," had not then settled the 
question ; but nobody doubts that Nicolai's 
was a case of disease ; and he was well aware 
of it himself, as it appears to me, everybody so 
afflicted, is. I was acquainted with a poor 
woman, in Edinborough, who suffered from 
this malady, brought on, I believe, by drinking; 
but she was perfectly conscious of the nature 
of the illusions ; and that temperance and a 
doctor were the proper exorcists to lay the 
spirits. With respect to Dr. Ferriar's book, a 
more shallow one was assuredly never allowed 
to settle any question; and his own theory 
cannot, without the most violent straining, and 
the assistance of what he calls coincidences, 
meet even half the cases he himself adduces. 
That such a disease, as he describes, exists, 
nobody doubts ; but I maintain that there are 
hundreds of cases on record, for which the 
explanation does not suffice ; and if they have 
been instances of spectral illusion, all that 
remains to be said, is, that a fundamental re- 
construction of the theory on/that subject is 


La Place says, in his " Essay on Proba- 
bilities," that " any case, however apparently 
incredible, if it be a recurrent case, is as 
much entitled under the laws of induction, to 
a fair valuation, as if it had been more pro- 
bable before hand." Now, no one will deny 
that the case in question possesses this claim to 
investigation. Determined scepticsmay,indeed, 
deny that there exists any well-authenticated 
instance of an apparition ; but that, at present, 
can only be a mere matter of opinion ; since 
many persons as competent to judge as them- 
selves, maintain the contrary ; and in the mean 
time, I arraign their right to make this objec- 
tion till they have qualified themselves to do 
so, by a long course of patient and honest 
enquiry ; always remembering that every 
instance of error or imposition discovered and 
adduced, has no positive value whatever in the 
argument, but as regards that single instance ; 
though it may enforce upon us the necessity of 
strong evidence and careful investigation. 
With respect to the evidence, past and present, 
I must be allowed here to remark on the 
extreme difficulty of producing it. Not to 
mention the acknowledged carelessness of 
observers and the alleged incapacity of per- 
sons to distinguish betwixt reality and illusion, 


there is an exceeding shyness in most people, 
who, either have seen, or fancied they have 
seen, an apparition, to speak of it at all, except 
to some intimate friend ; so that one gets most 
of the stories second-hand ; whilst even those 
who are less chary of their communications, 
are imperative against their name and autho- 
rity being given to the public. Besides this, 
there is a great tendency in most people, after 
the impression is over, to think they may have 
been deceived ; and where there is no commu- 
nication or other circumstance rendering this 
conviction impossible, it is not difficult to 
acquire it, or at least so much of it as leaves 
the case valueless. The seer is glad to find 
this refuge from the unpleasant feelings engen- 
dered ; whilst surrounding friends, sometimes 
from genuine scepticism, and sometimes from 
good-nature, almost invariably lean to this 
explanation of the mystery. In consequence 
of these difficulties and those attending the 
very nature of the phenomena, I freely admit 
that the facts I shall adduce, as they now 
stand, can have no scientific value ; they can- 
not in short enter into the region of science at 
all, still less into that of philosophy. Whatever 
conclusions we may be led to form, cannot be 
founded on pure induction. We must confine 


ourselves wholly within the region of opinion . 
if we venture beyond which, we shall 
assuredly founder. In the beginning, all 
sciences have been but a collection of facts, 
afterwards to be examined, compared, and 
weighed by intelligent minds. To the vulgar, 
who do riot see the universal law which 
governs the universe, everything out of the 
ordinary course of events, is a prodigy ; but to 
the enlightened mind there are no progidies ; 
for it perceives that both in the moral and the 
physical world, there is a chain of uninter- 
rupted connexion ; and that the most strange 
and even apparently contradictory or super- 
natural fact or event will be found, on due 
investigation, to be strictly dependant on its 
antecedents. It is possible, that there may be 
a link wanting, and that our investigations 
may, consequently, be fruitless ; but the link 
is assuredly there, although our imperfect 
knowledge and limited vision cannot find it 

And it is here the proper place to observe, 
that, in undertaking to treat of the phenomena 
in question, I do not propose to consider them 
as supernatural ; on the contrary, I am per- 
suaded that the time will come, when they will 
be reduced strictly within the bounds of 
science. It was the tendency of the last age 
c 5 


to reject and deny every thing they did not 
understand ; I hope it is the growing tendency 
of the present one, to examine what we do not 
understand. Equally disposed with our pre- 
decessors of the eighteenth century to reject 
the supernatural, and to believe the order of 
nature inviolable, we are disposed to extend the 
bounds of nature and science, till they com- 
prise within their limits all the phenomena, 
ordinary and extraordinary, by which we are 
surrounded. Scarcely a month passes, that 
we do not hear of some new and important 
discovery in science ; it is a domain in which 
nothing is stable ; and every year overthrows 
some of the hasty and premature theories of 
the preceding ones ; and this will continue 
to be the case as long as scientific men occupy 
themselves each with his own subject, with- 
out studying the great and primal truths 
what the French call Les verites meres which 
link the whole together. Meantime, there is 
a continual unsettling. Truth, if it do not 
emanate from an acknowledged authority, is 
generally rejected; and error, if it do, is as 
often accepted ; whilst, whoever disputes the 
received theory, w r hatever it be we mean 
especially that adopted by the professors of 
colleges does it at his peril. But there is 


a day yet brooding in the bosom of time, when 
the sciences will be no longer isolated ; when 
we shall no longer deny, but be able to 
account for phenomena apparently prodigious ; 
or have the modesty, ;if we cannot explain 
them, to admit that the difficulty arises solely 
from our own incapacity. The system of cen- 
tralization in statistics, seems to be of doubtful 
advantage ; but a greater degree of centraliza- 
tion appears to be very much needed in the 
domain of science. Some improvement in 
this respect might do wonders, particularly if 
reinforced with a slight infusion of patience 
and humility into the minds of scientific men ; 
together with the recollection that facts and 
phenomena which do not depend on our will, 
must be waited for that we must be at their 
command, for they will not be at ours. 

But to return once more to our own subject. 
If we do believe that a future life awaits us, 
there can be nothing more natural than the 
desire to obtain some information as to what 
manner of life that is to be for which any one 
of us may, before this time to-morrow, have 
exchanged his present mode of being. That 
there does not exist a greater interest with 
regard to this question in the mind of man, 
arises, partlv,from the vague intangible kind of 


belief he entertains of the fact ; partly, from 
his absorption in worldly affairs, and the hard 
and indigestible food upon which his clerical 
shepherds pasture him for, under dogmatic 
theology, religion seems to have withered away 
to the mere husk of spiritualism and partly, 
also from the apparent impossibility of pur- 
suing the enquiry to any purpose. As I said 
before, observation and experience can alone 
guide us in such an enquiry ; for though most 
people have a more or less intuitive sense of 
their own immortality, intuition is silent as to 
the mode of it ; and the question I am anxious 
here to discuss with my readers, is, whether 
we have any facts to observe, or any ex- 
perience from which, on this most interesting 
of all subjects, a conclusion may be drawn. 
Great as the difficulty is of producing evi- 
dence, it will, I think, be pretty generally ad- 
mitted, that, although each individual case, as 
jt stands alone, may be comparatively value- 
less, the amount of recurrent cases forms a 
body of evidence, that on any other subject 
would scarcely be rejected ; and since, if the 
facts are accepted, they imperatively demand 
an explanation for, assuredly, the present 
theory of spectral illusions cannot comprise 
them our enquiry, let it terminate in what- 


ever conclusion it may, cannot be useless or 
uninteresting. Various views of the pheno- 
meua in question may be taken ; and although 
I shall offer my own opinions and the theories 
and opinions of others, I insist upon none ; I 
do not write to dogmatise, but to suggest re- 
flection and enquiry. The books of Dr. 
Ferriar, Dr. Hibbert, and Dr. Thatcher, the 
American, are all written to support one 
exclusive theory ; and they only give such 
cases as serve to sustain it. They maintain 
that the whole phenomena are referrible to 
nervous or sanguineous derangement, and are 
mere subjective illusions ; and whatever in- 
stance cannot be covered by this theory, they 
reject as false, or treat as a case of extra- 
ordinary coincidence. In short, they arrange 
the facts to their theory, not their theory to the 
facts. Their books cannot, therefore, claim to 
be considered as anything more than essays on 
a special disease ; they have no pretence what- 
ever to the character of investigations. The 
question, consequently, remains as much an 
open one as before they treated it ; whilst we 
have the advantage of their experience and 
information, with regard to the peculiar 
malady that forms the subject of their works. 


On that subject it is not my intention to 
enter ; it is a strictly medical one, and every 
information may be obtained respecting it in 
the above-named treatises, and others, ema- 
nating from the faculty. 

The subjects I do intend to treat of are the 
various kinds of prophetic dreams, presen- 
timents, second-sight, and apparitions; and, 
in short, all that class of phenomena, which 
appears to throw some light on our physical 
nature, and on the probable state of the soul 
after death. In this discussion I shall make 
free use of my German authorities, Doctors 
Kerner, Stilling, Werner, Eschenmayer, Enne- 
moser, Passavent, Schubert, Von Meyer, &c. 
&c. ; and I here make a general acknowledge- 
ment to that effect, because it would embarrass 
my book too much to be constantly giving 
names and references ; although when I quote 
their words literally, I shall make a point of 
doing so ; and because, also, that as I have 
been both thinking and reading much on these 
subjects for a considerable time past, I am, in 
fact, no longer in a condition to appropriate 
either to them or to myself, each his own. 
This, however, is a matter of very little con- 
sequence, as I am not desirous of claiming 


any ideas as mine that can be found else- 
where. It is enough for me, if I succeed in 
making a tolerably clear exposition of the 
subject, and can induce other people to reflect 
upon it. 



IT is almost needless to observe, that the 
Scriptures repeatedly speak of man as a 
tripartite being, consisting of spirit, soul, and 
body ; and that, according to St. Paul, we have 
two bodies a natural body, and a spiritual 
body ; the former being designed as our means of 
communication with the external world an 
instrument to be used and controlled by our 
nobler parts. It is this view of it, carried to a 
fanaticism, which has led to the various and ex- 
traordinary mortifications recorded of ascetics. 
As is remarked by the Rev. Hare Townshend, 


in a late edition of his book on Mesmerism, in 
this fleshly body consists our organic life ; in 
the body which we are to retain through 
eternity, consists our fundamental life. May 
not the first, he says, " be a temporary de- 
velopment of the last, just as leaves, flowers 
and fruits, are the temporary developments of 
a tree. And in the same manner that these 
pass and drop away, yet leave the principle of 
reproduction behind, so may our present 
organs be detached from us by death, and yet 
the ground of our existence be spared to us 

Without entering into the subtle disputes of 
philosophers, with regard to the spirit, a sub- 
ject on which there is a standing controversy 
betwixt the disciples of Hegel, and those of 
other teachers, I need only observe that the 
Scriptures seem to indicate what some of the 
heathen sages taught, that the spirit that 
dwells within us is the spirit of God, incorpo- 
rated in us for a period, for certain ends of bis 
own, to be thereby wrought out. What those 
ends are, it does not belong to my present 
subject to consider. In this spirit so imparted 
to us, dwells, says Eschenmayer, the con- 
science, which keeps watch over the body and 
the soul, saying, "Thus shall thou do!" 

VOL. i. D 


And it is to this Christ addresses himself when 
he bids his disciples become perfect, like their 
Father in Heaven. The soul is subject to the 
spirit ; and its functions are, to will, or choose, 
to think, and to feel, and to become thereby 
cognizant of the true, the beautiful, and the 
good ; comprehending the highest principle, 
the highest ideal, and the most perfect happi- 
ness. The Ego, or /, is the resultant of the 
three forces, Pneuma, Psyche, Soina spirit, 
soul, and body. 

In the sptrit or soul, or rather in both con- 
joined, dwells, also, the power of spiritual 
seeing, or intuitive knowing ; for, as there is a 
spiritual body, there is a spiritual eye, and a 
spiritual ear, and so forth ; or, to speak more 
correctly, all these sensuous functions are com- 
prised in one universal sense, which does not 
need the aid of the bodily organs ; but, on the 
contrary, is Ynost efficient when most freed 
from them. It remains to be seen whether, 
or in what degree, such separation can tuke 
place during life ; complete it cannot be till 
death ; but whoever believes sincerely that 
the divine spirit dwells within him, can, I 
should think, find no difficulty in conceiving 
that, although from the temporary conditions 

to which pt trahitis is subjected, this universal 


faculty is limited and obscured, it must still 
retain its indefeisible attribute. 

We may naturally conclude that the most 
perfect state of man on earth consists in the 
most perfect unity of the spirit and the soul ; 
and to those who in this life have attained 
the nearest to that unity, will the entire assi- 
milation of the two, after they are separated 
from the body, be the easiest ; whilst to those 
who have lived only their intellectual and 
external life, this union must be extremely 
difficult, the soul having chosen its part with 
the body and divorced itself, as much as in it 
lay, from the spirit. The voice of conscience 
is then scarcely heard ; and the soul, degraded 
and debased, can no longer perform its func- 
tions of discerning the true, the beautiful, and 
the gocd. 

On these distinct functions of the soul and 
spirit, however, it is not my intention to in- 
sist; since, it appears to me, a subject on 
which we are not yet in a condition to dog- 
matise. We know rather more about our 
bodies, by means of which the soul and spirit 
are united and bnnight into contact with the 
material world, and which are constructed 
wholly with a view to the conditions of that 
world ; such as time, space, solidity, extension, 


&c. &c. But we must conceive of God as 
necessarily independent of these conditions. 
To Him, all times and all places must be 
for ever present; and it is thus that he is 
omniscient and omnipresent ; and since we are 
placed by the spirit in immediate relation with 
God and the spiritual world, just as we are 
placed by th< body in immediate relation with 
the material world, we may, in the first place, 
form a notion of the possibility that some faint 
gleams of these inherent attributes may, at 
times, shoot up through the clay in which the 
spirit has taken up its temporary abode ; and 
we may also admit, that through the connexion 
which exists betwixt us and the spiritual 
world, it is not impossible but that we may, at 
times, and under certain conditions, become 
cognizant of, and enter into more immediate 
relation with it. This is the only postulate I 
ask ; for, as I said before, I do not wish to 
enforce opinions, but to suggest probabilities, 
or at least possibilities, and thus arouse 
reflection and enquiry. 

With respect to the term invisible world, I 
beg to remind my readers, that what we call 
seeing, is merely the function of an organ con- 
structed for that purpose, in relation to the 
external world ; and so limited are its powers, 
that we are surrounded by many things in that 


world which we cannot see without the aid of 
artificial appliances, and many other things 
which we cannot see even with them ; the 
atmosphere in which we live, for example, 
which, although its weight and mechanical 
forces are the subjects of accurate calculation, 
is entirely imperceptible to our visual organs. 
Thus, the fact that we do not commonly see 
them, forms no legitimate objection to the 
hypothesis of our being surrounded by a world 
of spirits, or of that world being inter-diffused 
amongst us. Supposing the question to be 
decided, that we do sometimes become cog- 
nizant of them, which, however, I admit it is 
not ; since, whether the apparitions are sub- 
jective or objective, that is, whether they are 
the mere phenomena of disease, or real out- 
standing appearances, is the enquiry I desire 
to promote but, I say, supposing that ques- 
tion were decided in the affirmative, the next 
that arises is, how, or by what means do we 
see them ; or, if they address us, hear them ? 
If that universal sense which appears to me to 
be inseparable from the idea of spirit, be once 
admitted, I think there can be no difficulty 
in answering this question ; and if it be ob- 
jected that we are conscious of no such sense, 
I answer that, both in dreams and in certain 
D 5 


abnormal states of the body, it is frequently 
manifested. In order to render this more clear, 
and, at the same time, to give an interesting 
instance of this sort of phenomenon, I will 
transcribe a passage from a letter of St. Au- 
gustine to his friend Evadius (Epistola 169. 
Antwerp edition.) 

" I will relate to you a circumstance," he 
writes, " which will furnish you matter for 
reflection. Our brother Sennadius, well known 
to us all as an eminent physician, and whom 
we especially love, who is now at Carthage, 
after having distinguished himself at Rome,and 
with whose piety and active benevolence you 
are well acquainted, could yet, nevertheless, 
as he has lately narrated to us, by any means 
bring himself to believe in a life after death. 
Now, God, doubtless, not willing that his soul 
should perish, there appeared to him, one night 
in a dream, a radiant youth of noble aspect, 
who bade him follow him ; and as Sennadius 
obeyed, they came to a city where, on the right 
side, he heard a chorus of the most heavenly 
voices. As he desired to know whence this 
divine harmony proceeded, the youth told him 
that what he heard were the songs of the 
blessed ; whereupon he awoke, and thought 
no more of his dream than people usually do. 


On another night, however, behold ! the youth 
appears to him again and asks if he knows 
him ; and Sennadius related to him all the 
particulars of his former dream, which he well 
remembered. * Then,' said the youth, ' was it 
whilst sleeping or waking that you saw these 
things?' ' I was sleeping,' answered Sennadius. 
' Y ou are right,' returned the youth, ' it was in 
your sleep that you saw these things ; and 
know, oh Sennadius, that what you see now 
is also in your sleep. But if this be so, tell 
me where then is your body ?' ' In my bed- 
chamber,' answered Sennadius. * But know 
you not,' continued the stranger, ' that your 
eyes, which form a part of your body, are 
closed and inactive ?' 1 1 know it,' answered 
he. ' Then, 1 said the youth, ' with what eyes 
see you these things ?' And Sennadius could 
not answer him ; and as he hesitated the youth 
spoke again, and explained to him the motive 
of his questions. * As the eyes of your body,' 
said he, ' which lies now on your bed and 
sleeps, are inactive and useless, and yet you 
have eyes wherewith you see me and these 
things I have shown unto you, so after death 
when these bodily organs fail you, you wil 
have a vital power, whereby you will live ; and 
a sensitive faculty, whereby you will perceive. 


Doubt, therefore, no longer that there is a life 
after death.' And thus," said this excellent 
man, " was I convinced, and all doubts re- 

I confess there appears to me a beauty and 
a logical truth in this dream, that I think 
might convince more than the dreamer. 

It is by the hypothesis of this universal 
sense, latent within us ; an hypothesis which, 
whoever believes that we are immortal spirits, 
incorporated for a season in a material body, 
can scarcely reject, that I seek to explain those 
perceptions which are not comprised within 
the functions of our bodily organs. It seems 
to me to be the key to all, or nearly all, of 
them, as far as our own part in the phenomena 
extends. But, supposing this admitted, there 
would then remain the difficulty of accounting 
for the partial and capricious glimpses we get 
of it ; whilst that department of the mystery 
which regards apparitions, except such as are 
the pure result of disease, we must grope our 
way, with very little light to guide us, as to 
the conditions and motives which might pos- 
sibly bring them into any immediate relation 
with us. 

To any one who has been fortunate enough 
to witness one genuine case of clairvoyance 


I think the conception of this universal sense 
will not be difficult ; however, the mode of its 
exercise may remain utterly incomprehensible. 
As I have said above to the great spirit and 
fountain of life, all things, both in space and 
time, must be present. However impossible 
it is to our finite minds to conceive this, we 
must believe it. It may, in some slight 
degree, facilitate the conception to remember, 
that action, once begun, never ceases an im- 
pulse given is transmitted on for ever ; a sound 
breathed reverberates in eternity ; and thus 
the past is always present, although for the 
purpose of fitting us for this mortal life, our 
ordinary senses are so constituted as to be 
unperceptive of these phenomena. With 
respect to what we call the future, it is more 
difficult still for us to conceive it as present ; 
nor, as far ar I know, can we borrow from the 
sciences the same assistance as mechanical 
discoveries have just furnished me with in re- 
gard to the past. How a spirit sees that which 
has not yet, to our senses, 1 taken place, seems, 
certainly, inexplicable. Foreseeing it is not 
inexplicable ; we foresee many things by argu- 
ing on given premises, although, from our own 
finite views, we are always liable to be mis- 
taken. Louis Lambert says, "Such events 


as are the product of humanity, and the result 
of its intelligence, have their own causes, in 
which they lie latent, just as our actions are 
accomplished in our thoughts previous to any 
outward demonstration of them ; presentiments 
and prophecies consist in the intuitive percep- 
tion of these causes." This explanation[which 
is quite conformable with that of Cicero, may 
aid us in some degree, as regards a certain 
small class of phenomena ; but there is some- 
thing involved in the question much more 
subtle than this. Our dreams can give us the 
only idea of it ; for there we do actually see 
and hear, not only that which never was, 
but that which never will be. Actions 
and events, words and sounds, persons 
and places, are as clearly and vividly pre- 
sent to us, as if they were actually what 
they seem; and I should think that most 
people must be somewhat puzzled to decide 
in regard to certain scenes and circumstances 
that live in their memory, whether the images 
are the result of their waking or sleeping 
experience. Although by no means a dreamer, 
and without the most remote approximation to 
any faculty of presentiment, I know this is the 
case with myself. I remember, also, a very 
curious effect being produced upon me, when 


I was abroad, soms years ago, from eating- the 
unwholesome bread to which we were reduced, 
in consequence of a scarcity. Some five or six 
times a day I was seized with a sort of 
vertigo, during which I seemed to pass through 
certain scenes, and was conscious of certain 
words, which appeared to me to have a strange 
connexion, either with some former period of 
my life, or else some previous state of existence ; 
the words and the scenes were on each occasion 
precisely the same. I was always aware of 
that ; and I always made the strongest efforts 
to grasp and retain them in my memory ; but 
I could not. I only knew that the thing had 
been; the words and the scenes were gone. I 
seemed to pass momentarily into another sphere 
and back again. This was purely the result 
of disorder ; but, like a dream, it shows how 
we may be perceptive of that which is not, 
and which never may be ; rendering it, there- 
fore, possible to conceive that a spirit may be 
equally perceptive of that which shall be. 
I am very far from meaning to imply that these 
examples remove the difficulty ; they do not 
explain the thing ; they only show somewhat 
the mode of it. But it must be remembered 
that when physiologists pretend to settle the 
whole question of apparitions by the theory of 


spectral illusions, they are exactly in the same 
predicament. They can supply examples of 
similar phenomena ; hut how a person, per- 
fectly in his senses, should receive the spectral 
visits, not only of friends, but strangers, when 
he is thinking of no such matter ; or, by what 
process, mental or optical, the figures are con- 
jured up, remains as much a mystery as before 
a line was written on the subject. 

All people and all ages have believed, more 
or less, in prophetic dreams, presentiments, 
and apparitions ; and all histories have fur- 
nished examples of them. That the truths 
may be frequently distorted and mingled with 
fable, is no argument against those traditions; 
if it were, all history must be rejected on the 
same plea. Both the Old and New Testament 
furnish numerous examples of these pheno- 
mena; and although Christ and the Apostles 
reproved all the superstitions of the age, these 
persuasions are not included in their repre- 

Neither is the comparitive rarity of these 
phenomena any argument against their possi- 
bility. There are many strange things which 
occur still more rarely, but which we do not 
look upon as supernatural or miraculous. Of 
nature's ordinary laws, we yet know but little ; 


of their aberrations and perturbations still less. 
How should we, when the world is a miracle 
and life a dream, of which we know neither 
the beginning nor the end ! We do not even 
know that we see anything as it is ; or rather, 
we know that we do not. We see things but 
as our visual organs represent them to us ; and 
were those organs differently constructed, the 
aspect of the world, would to us, be changed. 
How, then, can we pretend to decide upon 
what is and what is not ? 

Nothing could be more perplexing to any one 
who read them with attention, than the trials 
for witchcraft of the seventeenth century 
Many of the feats of the ancient thatimatur- 
gists and wonder-workers of the temples, 
might have been nearly as much so ; but these 
were got rid of by the easy expedient of pro- 
nouncing them fables and impostures ; but, 
during the witch mania, so many persons 
proved their faith in their own miraculous 
powers by the sacrifice of their lives, that it 
was scarcely possible to doubt their having 
some foundation for their own persuasion, 
though what that foundation could be, till 
the late discoveries in animal magnetism, 
it was difficult to conceive ; but here we have 
a new page opened to us, which concerns both 



the history of the world and the history of 
man, as an individual ; and we begin to see, 
that that which the ignorant thought super- 
natural, and the wise impossible, has been 
both natural and true. Whilst the scientific 
men of Great Britain, and several of oar 
journalists, have been denying and ridiculing 
the reports of these phenomena, the most 
eminent physicians of Germany have been 
quietly studying and investigating them ; and 
giving to the world, in their works, the results 
of their experience. Amongst the rest, Dr. 
Joseph Ennemoser, of Berlin, has presented 
to us in his two books on " Magic," and on 
" The Connexion of Magnetism with Nature 
and Religion," the fruits of his thirty years' 
study of this subject ; during the course of 
which he has had repeated opportunities of 
investigating all the phenomena, and of making 
himself perfectly familiar with even the most 
rare and perplexing. To any one who has 
studied these works, the mysteries of the 
temples and of the witch trials, are mysteries 
no longer ; and he writes with the professed 
design, not to make science mystical, but to 
bring the mysterious within the bounds of 
science. The phenomena, as he justly says, 
are as old as the human race. Animal mag- 


netism is no new development, no new dis- 
covery. Inseparable from life, although, like 
many other vital phenomena, so subtle in its 
influences, that only in abnormal cases it 
attracts attention, it has exhibited itself more 
or less in all ages, and in all countries. But 
its value as a medical agent is only now be- 
ginning to dawn on the civilized world, whilst 
its importance, in a higher point of view, is yet 
perceived but by few. Every human being 
who has ever withdrawn himself from the 
strife, and the turmoil, and the distraction, of 
the world without, in order to look within, 
must have found himself perplexed by a thou- 
sand questions with regard to his own being, 
which he would find no one able to solve. 
In the study of animal magnetism, he will 
first obtain some gleams of a light which will 
show him that he is indeed the child of God ! 
and that, though a dweller on the earth, and 
fallen, some traces of his divine descent, and 
of his unbroken connexion with a higher order 
of being, still remain to comfort and encourage 
him. He will find that there exists in his 
species the germs of faculties that are never 
fully unfolded here on earth, and which have 
no reference to this state of being. They exist 
in all men ; but in most cases are so faintly 


elicited as not to be observable ; and when they 
do shoot up here and there, they are denied, 
disowned, misinterpreted, and maligned. It 
is true, that their development is often the 
symptom and effect of disease, which seems to 
change the relations of our material and im- 
material parts. It is true, that some of the 
phenomena resulting from these faculties are 
simulated by disease, as in the case of spectral 
illusions ; and it is true, that imposture and 
folly intrude their unhallowed footsteps into 
this domain of science, as into that of all 
others ; but there is a deep and holy well 
of truth to be discovered in this neglected 
bye-path of nature, by those who seek it, 
from which they may draw the purest con- 
solations for the present, the most ennobling 
hopes for the future, and the most valuable 
aid in penetrating through the letter, into 
the spirit of the Scriptures. 

I confess it makes me sorrowful when I 
hear men laughing, scorning, and denying this 
their brithright ; and I cannot but grieve to 
think how closely and heavily their clay must 
be wrapt about them, and how the external 
and sensuous life must have prevailed over the 
internal, when no gleam from within breaks 
through to show them that these thinge are 




To begin with the most simple or rather, I 
should say, the most ordinary, class of phe- 
nomena for we can scarcely call that simple, 
the mystery of which we have never been able 
to penetrate I mean dreaming everybody's 
experience will suffice to satisfy them, that 
their ordinary dreams take place in a state of 
imperfect sleep; and that this imperfect sleep 
may be caused by any bodily or mental 
derangement whatever ; or even from an ill- 
made bed, or too much or too little covering ; 
and it is not difficult to conceive that the 
strange, confused, and disjointed visions we 
are subject to on these occasions, may proceed 



from some parts of the brain being less at rest 
than the others ; so that, assuming- phrenology 
to be fact, one organ is not in a state to correct 
the impressions of another. Of such vain 
and insignificant visions, I need scarcely say 
it is not my intention to treat ; but, at the same 
time, I must observe, that when we have 
admitted the above explanation, as far as it 
goes, we have not, even in regard to them, 
made much progress towards removing the 
difficulty. If dreaming resembled thinking 
the explanations might be quite satisfactory ; 
but the truth is, that dreaming is not thinking, 
as we think in our waking state ; but is more 
analogous to thinking in delirium or acute 
mania, or in that chronic condition which gives 
rise to sensuous illusions. In our ordinary 
normal state, conceiving of places or persons 
does not enable us to see them or hold com- 
munion with them ; nor do we fancy that we 
do either. It is true that I have heard some 
painters say, that by closing their eyes and 
concentrating their thoughts on an object, they 
can bring it more or less vividly before them ; 
and Blake professed actually to see his sitters 
when they where not present ; but whatever 
interpretations we may put upou this curious 
faculty, his case was clearly abnormal, and con- 


nected with some personal peculiarity, either 
physical or psychical ; and, after making the 
most of it, it must be admitted that it can 
enter into no sort of comparison with that we 
possess in sleep, when, in our most ordinary 
dreams, untrammelled by time or space, we 
visit the uttermost ends of the earth, fly in the 
air, swim in the sea, listen to beautiful music 
and eloquent orations, behold the most charm- 
ing-, as well as the most loathsome objects ; 
and not only see, but converse with our 
friends, absent or present, dead or alive. 
Every one, I think, will grant that there is the 
widest possible difference betwixt conceiving 
of these things when awake, and dreaming 
them. When we dream, we do, we see, we 
say, we hear, &c. &c., that is, we believe at the 
time that we do so ; and what more can be 
said of us when we are awake, than that we 
believe we are doing, seeing, saying, hearing, 
&c. It is by external circumstances, and the 
results of our actions, that we are able to 
decide whether we have actually done a thing 
or seen a place, or only dreamt that we have 
done so ; and as I have said above, after some 
lapse of time, we are not always able to dis- 
tinguish between the two. Whilst dreaming, 
we frequently ask ourselves whether we are 


awake or asleep ; and nothing is more common 
than to hear people say, " Well, I think I did, 
or heard, so and so ; but I am not sure 
whether it was so, or whether I dreamt it." 
Thus, therefore, the very lowest order of 
dreaming, the most disjointed and perplexed, 
is far removed from the most vivid presen- 
tations of our waking thoughts ; and it is in 
this respect, I think, that the explanations of 
the phenomena hitherto offered by phrenolo- 
gists, and the metaphysicians of this country, 
are inadequate and unsatisfactory ; whilst, as 
regards the analogy betwixt the visions of sleep 
and delirium, whatever similarity there may be 
in the effects, we cannot suppose the cause to 
be identical : since, in delirium, the images 
and delusions are the result of excessive action 
of the brain, which we must conclude to be the 
very reverse of its condition in sleep. Pinel 
certainly has hazarded an opinion that sleep 
is occasioned by an efflux of blood to the head, 
and consequent compression of the brain a 
theory which would have greater weight were 
sleep more strictly periodical than it is ; but 
which, at present, it seems impossible to recon- 
cile with many established facts. 

Some of the German physiologists and 
psychologists have taken a deeper view of this 


question of dreamingfrom considering it in con- 
nexion with the phenomena of animal magnet- 
ism; and although their theories differ in some 
respects, they all unite in looking towards that 
department of nature for instruction. Whilst 
one section of these enquirers, the Exegetical 
Society of Stockholm included, calls in the aid 
of supernatural agency, another, amongst 
whom Dr. Joseph Ennemoser, of Berlin, 
appears to he one of the most eminent, main- 
tains that the explanation of the mystery is to 
be chiefly sought in the great and universal 
law of polarity, which extends not only 
beyond the limits of this earth, but beyond 
the limits of this system, which must neces- 
sarily be in connexion with all others ; so that 
there is thus an eternal and never-ceasing 
inter-action, of which, from the multiplicity 
and contrariety of the influences we are insen- 
sible, just as we are insensible of the pressure 
of the atmoshere, from its impinging on us 
equally on all sides. 

Waking and sleeping are the day and night 
sides of organic life, during which alterna- 
tions an animal is placed in different relations 
to the external world, and to these alternations 
all organisms are subject. The completeness 
and independence of each individual organism, 


is in exact ratio to the number and complete- 
ness of the organs it developes ; and thus the 
locomotive animal has the advantage of the 
plant or the zoophyte, whilst, of the animal 
kingdom, man is the most complete and inde- 
pendent ; and, although still a member of the 
universal whole, and therefore incapable of 
isolating himself, yet better able than any 
other organism to ward off external influences, 
and comprise his world within himself. But, 
according to Dr. Ennemoser, one of the conse- 
quences of this very completeness, is a weak 
and insignificant development of instinct ; and 
thus the healthy, waking, conscious man, is, of 
all organisms, the least sensible to the impres- 
sions of this universal intercommunication and 
polarity; although, at the same time, par- 
taking of the nature of the plant and the 
animal, he is subject, like the first, to all man- 
ner of atmospheric, telluric, and periodic in- 
fluences; and frequently exhibits, like the 
second, peculiar instinctive appetites and de- 
sires, and, in some individual organizations, 
very marked antipathies and susceptibilities 
with regard to certain objects and influences, 
even when not placed in any evident relation 
with them. 

According to this theory, sleep is a retro- 


grade step a retreating into a lower sphere ; 
in which condition, the sensuous functions 
being in abeyance, the instincts somewhat 
resume their sway. " In sleep and in sick- 
ness," he says, " the higher animals and man 
fall in a physico-organical point of view, from 
their individual independence, or power of 
self-sustainment ; and their polar relation, that 
is, their relation, to the healthy and waking 
man, becomes changed from a positive to a 
negative one ; all men, in regard to each other, 
as well as all nature, being the subjects of this 
polarity. It is to be remembered, that this 
theory of Dr. Ennemoser's was promulgated 
before the discoveries of Baron von Reichen- 
back in magnetism were made public, and the 
susceptibility to magnetic influences in the 
animal organism, which the experiments of 
the latter go to establish, is certainly in its 
favour ; but whilst it pretends to explain the 
condition of the sleepers, and may possibly be 
of some service in our investigations into the 
mystery of dreaming, it leaves us as much in 
the dark as ever, with respect to the cause of 
our falling into this negative state ; an enquiry 
in which little progress seems to have been 
hitherto made. 

With respect to dreaming, Dr. Ennemoser 


rejects the physiological theory, which main- 
tains, that in sleep, magnetic or otherwise, the 
activity of the brain is transferred to the gan- 
glionic system, and that the former falls into 
a subordinate relation. " Dreaming," he says, 
" is the gradual awakening of activity in the 
organs of imagination, whereby the presenta- 
tion of sensuous objects to the spirit, which 
had been discontinued in profound sleep, is 
resumed. Dreaming," he adds, " also arises 
from the secret activity of the spirit in the 
innermost sensuous organs of the brain, busy- 
ing the fancy with subjective sensuous images, 
the objective conscious day -life giving place to 
the creative dominion of the poetical genius, 
to which night becomes day, and universal 
nature its theatre of action ; and thus the su- 
persensuous or transcendent nature of the 
spirit becomes more manifest in dreaming 
than in the waking state. But, in considering 
these phenomena, man must be viewed both 
in his psychical and physical relations, and as 
equally subject to spiritual as to natural opera- 
tions and influences ; since, during the con- 
tinuance of life, neither soul nor body can act 
quite independently of the other ; for, although 
it be the immortal spirit which perceives, it is 
through the instrumentality of the sensuous 


organs that it does so ; for of absolute spirit 
without body, we can form no conception." 

What is here meant seems to be, that the, 
brain becomes the world to the spirit, before 
the impressions from the external world, do 
actually come streaming through by means of 
the external sensuous organs. The inner 
spiritual light illumines, till the outward, 
physical light overpowers and extinguishes it. 
But in this state, the brain, which is the store- 
house of acquired knowledge, is not in a con- 
dition to apply its acquisitions effectively ; 
whilst the intuitive knowledge of the spirit, if 
the sleep be imperfect, is clouded by its 

Other physiologists, however, believe, from 
the numerous and well attested cases of the 
transference of the senses, in disease, to the 
pit of the stomach, that the activity of the 
brain in sleep is transferred to the epigastric 
region. The instances of this phenomenon, 
as related by Dr. Petetin and others, having 
been frequently published, I need not here 
quote. But, as Dr. Passavant observes, it is 
well known that the functions of the nerves 
differ in some animals ; and that one set can 
supply the place of another ; as in those cases 

VOL. i. F 


where theri is a great susceptibility to light, 
though no eyes can be discovered. 

These physiologists believe, that, even during 
the most profouud sleep, the spirit retains 
its activity, a proposition which, indeed, we 
cannot doubt ; " it wakes, though the senses 
sleep, retreating into its infinite depths, like 
the sun at night ; living on its spiritual life 
undisturbed, whilst the body sinks into a state 
of vegetative tranquillity. Nor does it follow 
that the soul is unconscious in sleep, because 
in waking we have frequently lost all memory 
of its consciousness ; since, by the repose of 
the sensuous organs, the bridge betwixt waking 
and sleeping is removed, and the recol- 
lections of one state are not carried into the 

It will occur here to every one, how often 
in the instant of waking we are not only con- 
scious that we have been dreaming, but are 
also conscious of the subject of the dream, 
which we try in vain to grasp, but which 
eludes us, and is gone for ever the moment 
we have passed into a state of complete 

Now, with respect to this so called dreaming 
in profound sleep, it is a thing no one can well 
doubt, who thoroughly believes that his body 


is a temple built for the dwelling of an im- 
mortal spirit; for we cannot conceive of spirit 
sleeping-, or needing that restoration which we 
know to be the condition of earthly organisms. 
If, therefore, the spirit wakes, may we not 
suppose that the more it is disentangled from 
the obstructions of the body, the more clear 
will be its perceptions ; and that, therefore, 
in the profound natural sleep of the sensuous 
organs we may be in a state of clear-seeing. 
All who have attended to the subject are aware, 
that the clear-seeing of magnetic patients 
depends on the depth of their sleep ; whatever 
circumstance, internal or external, tends to in- 
terrupt this profound repose of the sensuous 
organs, inevitably obscures their perception*. 
Again, with respect to the not carrying 
with us the recollections of one state into the 
other, should not this lead us to suspect, that 
sleeping and waking are two different spheres 
of existence ; partaking of the nature of that 
double life, of which the records of human 
physiology have presented us with various in- 
stances, wherein a patient finds himself utterly 
divested of all recollection of past events and 
acquired knowledge, and has to begin life 
and education anew, till another transition 
takes place, wherein he recovers what he had 


lost, whilst he at the same time loses all he 
had lately gained, which he only recovers, 
once more, by another transition, restoring to 
him his lately acquired knowledge, but again 
obliterating his original stock, thus alternately 
passing from one state to the other, and dis- 
closing a double life ; an educated man in one 
condition, a child learning his alphabet in 
the next. 

Where the transition from one state to 
another is complete, memory is entirely lost ; 
but there are cases in which the change, being 
either gradual or modified, the recollections of 
one life are carried more or less into the other. 
We know this to be the case with magnetic 
sleepers, as it is with ordinary dreamers ; and 
most persons have met with instances of the 
dream of one night being continued in the 
next. Treviranus mentions the case of a stu- 
dent who regularly began to talk the moment 
he fell asleep, the subject of his discourse 
being a dream, which he always took up at 
the exact point at which he had left it the 
previous morning. Of this dream he had 
never the slightest recollection in his waking 
state. A daughter of Sir George Mackenzie's, 
who died at an early age, was endowed with 
a remarkable genius for music, and was an 


accomplished organist. This young lady 
dreamt, during an illness, that she was at a 
party, where she had heard a new piece of 
music, which made so great an impression on 
her by its novelty and beauty, that, on awaking, 
she besought her attendants to bring her some 
paper, that she might write it down before 
she had forgotten it, an indulgence which, 
apprehensive of excitement, her medical 
attendant unfortunately forbad; for, apart from 
the additional psychological interest that would 
have been attached to the fact, the effects of 
compliance, judging from what ensued, would 
probably have been soothing, rather than other- 
wise. About ten days afterwards, she had a 
second dream, wherein she again found herself 
at a party, where she descried on the desk 
of a pianoforte, in a corner of the room, an 
open book, in which, with astonished delight, 
she recognised the same piece of music, which 
she immediately proceeded to play, and then 
awoke. The piece was not of a short or fugi- 
tive character, but in the style of an overture. 
The question, of course, remains, as to whether 
she was composing the music in her sleep, or 
by an act of clairvoyance, was perceiving some 
that actually existed. Either is possible, for, 
although she might have been incapable of 
F 5 


composing so elaborate a piece in her waking 
state, there are many instances on record of 
persons performing intellectual feats in dreams, 
to which they were unequal when awake. A 
very eminent person assured me, that he had 
once composed some lines in his sleep, I think it 
was a sonnet, which far exceeded any of his 
waking performances of that description. 

Somewhat analagous to this sort of double 
life, is the case of the young girl mentioned by 
Dr. Abercrombie and others, whose employ- 
ment was keeping cattle, and who slept for 
some time, much to her own annoyance, in the 
room adjoining one occupied by an itinerant 
musician. The man, who played exceedingly 
well, being an enthusiast in his art, fre- 
quently practised the greater part of the 
night, performing on his violin very compli- 
cated, and difficult compositions,whilst the girl, 
so far from discovering any pleasure in his 
performances, complained bitterly of being 
kept awake by the noise. Some time after 
this, she fell ill and was removed to the house 
of a charitable lady, who undertook the charge 
of her ; and here, by and by, the family were 
amazed by frequently hearing the most exqui- 
site music in the night, which they at length 
discovered to proceed from the girl. The 


sounds were those of a violin, and the tuning 
and other preliminary processes were accu- 
rately imitated. She went through long and 
elaborate pieces, and afterwards was heard imi- 
tating, in the same way, the sounds of a piano- 
forte that was in the house. She also talked 
very cleverly on the subjects of religion and 
politics, and discussed, with great judgment, 
the characters and conduct of persons, public 
and private. Awake, she knew nothing of these 
things ; but was, on the contrary, stupid, heavy, 
and had no taste whatever for music. Phreno- 
logy would probably interpret this phenomenon 
by saying, that the lower elements of the 
cerebral spinal axis, as organs of sensation, 
&c. &c., being asleep, the cluster of the higher 
organs requisite for the above combinations, 
were not only awake, but rendered more active 
from the repose of the others : but to me it 
appears, that we here see the inherent faculties 
of the spirit manifesting themselves, whilst 
the body slept. The same faculties must have 
existed when it was in a waking state ; but the 
impressions and manifestations were then 
dependant on the activity and perfection of the 
sensuous organs, which seem to have been of 
an inferior order ; and, consequently, no rays 


of this in-dwelling genius could pierce the 
coarse integument in which it was lodged. 

Similar unexpected faculties have been not 
unfrequently manifested by the dying; and we 
may conclude to a certain degree from the 
same cause ; namely, that the incipient death 
of the body is leaving the spirit more unob- 
structed. Dr. Steinbech mentions the case of 
a clergyman, who, being summoned to ad- 
minister the last sacraments to a dying 
peasant, found him, to his surprise, praying 
aloud in Greek and Hebrew, a mystery which 
could be no otherwise explained, than by the 
circumstance of his having, when a child, fre- 
quently heard the then minister of the parish 
praying in those languages. He had, how- 
ever, never understood the prayers, nor indeed 
paid any attention to them ; still less had he 
been aware that they lived in his memory. It 
would give much additional interest to this 
story had Dr. Steinbech mentioned how far 
the man, now, whilst uttering the words, 
understood their meaning ; whether he was 
aware of what he was saying, or was only re- 
peating the words by rote. 

With regard to the extraordinary faculty of 
memory manifested in these and similar cases, I 


shall have some obervations to make in a sub- 
sequent part of this book. 

Parallel instances are those of idiots, who, 
either in a somnambulic state, or immediately 
previous to death, have spoken as if inspired. 
At St. Jean de Maurienne, in Savoy, there 
was a dumb Cretin, who, having- fallen into 
a natural state of somnambulism, not only was 
found to speak with ease, but also to the pur- 
pose ; a faculty which disappeared, however, 
whenever he awoke. Dumb persons have like- 
wise been known to speak when at the point 
of death. 

The possibility of suggesting dreams to 
some sleepers by whispering in the ear, is a 
well known fact ; but this can, doubtless, only 
be practicable where the sensuous organs are 
partly awake. Then, as with magnetic 
patients in a state of incomplete sleep, we have 
only reverie and imagination in place of clear- 

The next class of dreams are those which 
partake of the nature of second sight, or pro- 
phecy, and of these there are various kinds ; 
some being plain and literal in their premo- 
nitions, others allegorical and obscure ; whilst 
some also regard the most unimportant, and 
others the most grave events of our lives. A 


gentleman engaged in business in the south 
of Scotland, for example, dreams that on en- 
tering his office in the morning, he sees seated 
on a certain stool, a person formerly in his ser- 
vice as clerk, of whom he had neither heard 
or thought for some time. He enquires the 
motive of the visit, and is told that such and 
such circumstances having brought the 
stranger to that part of the country, he could 
not forbear visiting his old quarters, express- 
ing, at the same time, a vrish to spend a few 
days in his former occupation, &c. &c. The 
gentleman, being struck with the vividness of 
the illusion, relates his dream at breakfast, and, 
to his surprise, on going to his office, there sits 
the man, and the dialogue that ensues is pre- 
cisely that of the dream. I have heard of 
numerous instances of this kind of dream, 
where no previous expectation nor excitement 
of mind could be found to account for them, 
and where the fulfilment was too exact and 
literal, in all particulars, to admit of their 
being explained away by the ready resource 
of " an extraordinary coincidence." There 
are, also, on record, both in this country and 
others, many perfectly well authenticated cases 
of people obtaining prizes in the lottery, 
through having dreamt of the fortunate num- 


bers. As many numbers, however, may have 
been dreamt of that were not drawn prizes, we 
can derive no conclusion from this circumstance. 
A very remarkable instance of this kind of 
dreaming occurred a few years since to Mr. 
A. F., an eminent Scotch advocate, whilst 
staying in the neighbourhood of Lock Fyne, 
who dreamt one night that he saw a number 
of people in the street following a man to the 
scaffold. He discovered the features of the 
criminal in the cart distinctly ; and, for some 
reason or other, which he could not account 
for, felt an extraordinary interest in his fate ; 
insomuch that he joined the throng, and ac- 
companied him to the place that was to ter- 
minate his earthly career. This interest was 
the more unaccountable, that the man had an 
exceedingly unprepossessing countenance, but 
it was, nevertheless, so vivid, as to induce the 
dreamer to ascend the scaffold, and address 
him, with a view to enable him to escape the 
impending catastrophe. Suddenly, however, 
whilst he was talking to him, the whole scene 
dissolved away, and the sleeper awoke. Being 
a good deal struck with the life-like reality of 
the vision, and the impression made on his 
mind by the features of this man, he related 
the circumstance to his friends, at breakfast, 


adding that he should know him anywhere, if 
he saw him. A few jests being made on the 
subject, the thing was forgotten. 

On the afternoon of the same day, the advo- 
cate was informed that two men wanted to 
speak to him, and, on going into the hall, he 
was struck with amazement at perceiving that 
one of them was the hero of his dream ! 

" We are accused of a murder," said they, 
" and we wish to consult you. Three of us 
went out last night, in a boat ; an accident 
has happened ; our comrade is drowned, and 
they want to make us accountable for him. 11 
The advocate then put some interrogations to 
them, arid the result produced in his mind, 
by their answers, was a conviction of their 
guilt. Probably the recollection of his dream 
rendered the effects of this conviction more 
palpable ; for, one addressing the other, said, 
in Gaelic, " We have come to the wrong man; 
he is against us." 

" There is a higher power than I against 
you," returned the gentleman ; " and the only 
advice I can give you is, if you are guilty, fly 
immediately." Upon this, they went away ; 
and the next thing he heard was, that they 
were taken into custody, on suspicion of the 


The account of the affair was, that, as they 
said, the three had gone out together on the 
preceding evening, and that in the morning, 
the body of one of them had been found on 
the shore, with a cut across his forehead. The 
father and friend of the victim had waited on 
the banks of the lake till the boat came in, and 
then demanded their companion ; of whom, 
however, they professed themselves unable to 
give any account. Upon this, the old man led 
them to his cottage for the purpose of showing 
them the body of his son. One entered, and, 
at the sight of it, burst into a passion of tears : 
the other refused to do so, saying his business 
called him immediately home, and went sulkily 
away. This last was the man seen in the 

After a fortnight's incarceration, the former 
of these was liberated ; and he then declared 
to the advocate his intention of bringing an 
action of damages for false imprisonment. 
He was advised not to do it. " Leave well 
alone," said the lawyer ; " and if you'll take 
my advice, make off while you can." The man, 
however, refused to fly : he declared that he 
really did not know what had occasioned the 
death of his comrade. The latter had been at 
one end of the boat, and he at the other ; when 

VOL. i. G 


he looked round, he was gone ; but whether 
he had fallen overboard, and cut his head as he 
fell, or whether he had been struck and pushed 
into the water, he did not know. The advocate 
became finally satisfied of this man's inno- 
cence ; but the authorities, thinking it absurd 
to try one and not the other, again laid hands 
on him ; and it fell to Mr. A. F. to be the 
defender of both. The difficulty was, not to 
separate their cases in his pleading ; for, how- 
ever morally convinced of the different ground 
on which they stood, his duty, professionally, 
was to obtain the acquittal of both ; in which 
he finally succeeded, as regarded the charge of 
murder. They were, therefore, sentenced to 
two years' imprisonment ; and, so far as the 
dream is concerned, here ends the story. 
There remains, however, a curious sequel to it. 
A few years afterwards, the same gentleman 
being in a boat on Loch Fyne, in company 
with Sir T. D. L., happened to be mentioning 
these curious circumstances, when one of the 
boatmen said, that he " knew well about those 
two men ; and that a very strange thing had 
occurred in regard to one of them." This one, 
on enquiry, proved to be the subject of the 
dream ; and the strange thing was this : On 
being liberated, he had quitted that part of the 


country, and, in process of time, had gone to 
Greenock, and thence embarked in a vessel 
for Cork. But the vessel seemed fated never 
to reach its destination ; one misfortune hap- 
pened after another, till at length the sailors 
said, " This won't do ; there must be a mur- 
derer on board with us." As is usual, when 
such a persuasion exists, they drew lots three 
times, and each time it fell on that man. He 
was, consequently, put on shore, and the vessel 
went on its way without him. What had 
become of him afterwards, was not known. 

A friend of mine, being in London, dreamt 
that she saw her little boy playing on the 
terrace of her house in Northumberland, 
that he fell and hurt his arm, and she saw him 
lying apparently dead. The dream recurred 
two or three times, on the same night, and 
she awoke her husband, saying, she " feared 
something must have happened to Henry." 
In due course of post, a letter arrived from the 
governess, saying, that she was sorry to have 
to commuicate that, whilst playing on the ter- 
race that morning, Master Henry had fallen 
over a heap of stones, and broken his arm ; 
adding, that he had fainted after the accident, 
and had lain for some time insensible. The 
lady to whom this dream occurred, is not aware 


having ever manifested this faculty before or 

Mrs. W. dreamt that she saw people ascend- 
ing by a ladder to the chamber of her step-son, 
John; wakes, and says she is afraid he is 
dead, and that there was something odd in 
her dream about a watch and a candle. In 
the morning, a messenger is sent to enquire for 
the gentleman, and they find people ascending 
to his chamber window by a ladder, the door 
of the room being locked. They discover him 
dead on the floor, with his watch in his hand, 
and the candle between his feet. The same 
lady dreamt that she saw a friend in great 
agony ; and that she heard him say, they were 
tearing his flesh from his bones. He was 
some time afterwards seized with inflamma- 
tion, lay as she had seen him, and made use 
of those exact words. 

A friend of mine dreamt, lately, that some- 
body said, her nephew must not be bled, as 
it would be dangerous. The young man was 
quite well, and there had been no design of 
bleeding him ; but, on the following morning 
he had a tooth drawn, and an effusion of blood 
ensued, which lasted some days, and caused a 
good deal of uneasiness. 

A farmer, in Worcestershire, dreamt that 


his little boy, of twelve years old, had fallen 
from the waggon and was killed. The dream 
recurred three times in one night; but, unwilling 
to yield to superstitious fears, he allowed the 
child to accompany the waggoner to Kidder- 
minster Fair. The driver was very fond of 
the boy, and he felt assured would take care of 
him ; but, having occasion to go a little out of 
theroad to leave a parcel, the man bade the child 
walk on with the waggon, and he would meet 
him at a certain spot. On arriving there, the 
horses were coming quietly forward, but the 
boy was not with them ; and on retracing the 
road, he was found dead ; having, apparently, 
fallen from the shafts and been crushed by the 

A gentleman, who resided near one of the 
Scottish lakes, dreamt that he saw a number 
of persons surrounding a body, which had just 
been drawn out of the water. On approaching 
the spot, he perceives that it is himself, and 
the assistants are his own friends and retainers. 
Alarmed at the life-like reality of the vision, 
he resolved to elude the threatened destiny by 
never venturing on the lake again. On one 
occasion, however, it became quite indispen- 
sable that he should do so ; and, as the day was 
quite calm, he yielded to the necessity, on con- 
G 5 


dition that he should he put ashore at once on 
the opposite side, whilst the rest of the party 
proceeded to their destinations, where he would 
meet them. This was accordingly done : the 
boat skimmed gaily over the smooth waters, 
and arrived safely at the rendezvous, the gen- 
tlemen laughing at the superstition of their 
companion ; whilst he stood smiling on the 
bank to receive them. But, alas ! the fates- 
were inexorable : the little promontory that 
supported him had been undermined by the 
water : it gave way beneath his feet, and life 
was extinct before he could be rescued. This 
circumstance was related to me by a friend of 
the family. 

Mr. S. was the son of an Irish bishop, who 
set somewhat more value on the things of 
this world than became his function. He 
had always told his son that there was but one 
thing he could not forgive, and that was a bad 
marriage : meaning, by a bad marriage, a poor 
one. As cautions of this sort do not, by any 
means, prevent young people falling in love, 
Mr. S. fixed his affections on Lady O., a fair 
young widow, without any fortune ; and, aware 
that it would be useless to apply for his father's 
consent, he married her without asking it. 
They were, consequently, exceedingly poor ; 


and, indeed, nearly all they had to live on was 
a small sinecure of forty pounds per annum, 
which Dean Swift procured for him. Whilst 
in this situation, Mr. S. dreamt one night 
that he was in the cathedral in which he had 
formerly been accustomed to attend service ; 
that he saw a stranger, habited as a bishop, 
occupying his father's throne ; and that, on 
applying to the verger for an explanation, the 
man said, that the bishop was dead, and that 
he had expired just as he was adding a codicil 
to his will in his son's favour. The impression 
made by the dream was so strong, that Mr. S. 
felt that he should have no repose till he had 
obtained news from home ; and as the most 
speedy way of doing so, was to go there him- 
self, he started on horseback, much against the 
advice of his wife, who attached no importance 
whatever to the circumstance. He had 
scarcely accomplished half his journey, when 
he met a courrier, bearing the intelligence of 
his father's death ; and when he reached 
home, he found that there was a codicil 
attached to the will of the greatest importance 
to his own future prospects ; but the old gen- 
tleman had expired, with the pen in his hand, 
just as.he was about to sign it. 

In this unhappy position, reduced to hope- 


less indigence, the friends of the young man 
proposed that he should present himself at 
the Vice-regal Palace, on the next levee day, 
in hopes that some interest might be excited 
in his favour ; to which, with reluctance, he 
consented. As he was ascending the stairs, 
he was met by a gentleman whose dress 
indicated that he belonged to the Church. 

" Good Heavens !" said he, to the friend who 
accompanied him, " Who is that ?" 

" That is Mr. , of so and so." 

"Then he will be Bishop of L !" re- 
turned Mr. S. ; " For that is the man I saw 
occupying my father's throne !" 

" Impossible !" replied the other ; " he has 
no interest whatever, and has no more chance 
of being a bishop than I have." 

" You will see," replied Mr. S., "I am 
certain he will. 

They had made their obeisance above, and 
were returing, when there was a great cry 
without, and everybody rushed to the doors 
and windows to enquire what had happened. 
The horses attached to the carriage of a young 
nobleman had become restive, and were 
endangering the life of their master, when 

Mr. rushed forward, and, at the peril of 

his own, seized their heads, and afforded Lord 


C. time to descend before they broke through 
all restraint, and dashed away. Through the 
interest of this nobleman and his friends, to 

whom Mr. had been previously quite 

unknown, he obtained the see of L. These 
circumstances were related to me by a 
member of the family. 

It would be tedious to relate all the 
instances of this sort of dreaming which have 
come to my knowledge, but were they even 
much more rare than they are, and were there 
none of a graver and more mysterious kind, 
it might certainly occasion some surprise that 
they should have excited so little attention. 
When stories of this sort are narrated, they 
are listened to with wonder for the moment, 
and then forgotten, and few people reflect on 
the deep significance of the facts, nor the 
important consequences to us involved in the 
question, of how, with our limited faculties, 
which cannot foretel the events of the next 
moment, we should suddenly become prophets 
and seers. 

The following dream, as it regards the fate 
of a very interesting person, and is, I believe, 
very little known, I will relate, though the 
story is of somewhat an old date : Major 
Andre, the circumstances of whose lamented 


death are too well known to make it neces- 
sary for me to detail them here, was a friend 
of Miss Se ward's, and, previously to his em- 
barkation for America, he made a journey 
into Derbyshire, to pay her a visit, and it 
was arranged that they should ride over to see 
the wonders of the Peak, and introduce Andre 
to Newton, her minstrel, as she called him, 
and to Mr. Cunningham, the curate, who was 
also a poet. 

Whilst these two gentlemen were awaiting 
the arrival of their guests, of whose intentions 
they had been apprised, Mr. Cunningham 
mentioned to Newton that, on the preceding 
night, he had had a very extraordinary dream, 
which he could not get out of his head. He 
had fancied himself in a forest ; the place was 
strange to him ; and, whilst looking about, he 
perceived a horseman approaching at great 
speed, who had scarcely reached the spot 
where the dreamer stood, when three men 
rushed out of the thicket, and, seizing his 
bridle, hurried him away, after closely search- 
ing his person. The countenance of the 
stranger being very interesting, the sympathy 
felt by the sleeper for his apparent misfortune 
awoke him; but he presently fell asleep again, 
and dreamt that he was standing near a great 


city, amongst thousands of people, and that 
he saw the same person he had seen seized 
in the wood brought ont and suspended to a 
gallows. When Andre and Miss Seward 
arrived, he was horror-struck to perceive that 
his new acquaintance was the antitype of the 
man in the dream. 

Mr. C., a friend of mine, told me, the other 
day, that he had dreamt he had gone to see 
a lady of his acquaintance, and that she had 
presented him with a purse. In the morning 
he mentioned the circumstance to his wife, 
adding that he wondered what should have 
made him dream of a person he had not been 
in any way led to think of; and, above all, 
that she should give him a purse. On that 
same day, a letter arrived from that lady to 
Mrs. C., containing a purse, of which she 
begged her acceptance. Here was the imper- 
fect foreshadowing of the fact, probably from 
unsound sleep. 

Another friend lately dreamt, one Thursday 
night, that he saw an acquaintance of his 
thrown from his horse ; and that he was lying 
on the ground with the blood streaming from 
his face, which was much cut. He mentioned 
his dream in the morning, and being an entire 
disbeliever in such phenomena, he could not 


account for the impression made on his mind. 
This was so strong, that, on Saturday, he could 
not forbear calling at his friend's house ; who, 
he was told, was in bed, having been thrown 
from his horse on the previous clay, and much 
injured about the face. 

Relations of this description having been 
more or less familiar to the world in all times 
and places ; and the recurrence of the pheno- 
mena too frequent to admit of their reality 
being disputed, various theories were promul- 
gated to account for them ; and, indeed, there 
scarcely seems to be a philosopher or historian 
amongst the Greeks and Romans who does not 
make some allusion to this ill-understood de- 
partment of nature ; whilst, amongst the 
eastern nations, the faith in such mysterious 
revelations remains even yet undiminished. 
Spirits, good and evil, or the divinities of the 
heathen mythology, were generally called in 
to remove the difficulty; though some philo- 
sophers, rejecting this supernatural inter- 
ference, sought the explanation in merely 
physical causes. 

In the Druidical rites of the northern na- 
tions, women bore a considerable part : there 
were pristesses, who gave forth oracles and 
prophecies, much after the manner of the Py. 


thonesses of the Grecian temples, and, no 
doubt, drawing their inspiration from the 
same sources ; namely, from the influences of 
magnetism, and from narcotics. When the 
pure rites of Christianity superseded the 
Heathen forms of worship, tradition kept alive 
the memory of these vaticinations, together 
with some of the arcana of the Druidical 
groves ; and hence, in the middle ages, arose 
a race of so-called witches and sorcerers, who 
were partly imposters, and partly self'deluded. 
Nobody thought of seeking the explanation 
of the facts they witnessed in natural causes ; 
what had formerly been attributed to the in- 
fluence of the Gods, was now attributed to the 
influence of the Devil ; and a league with 
Satan was the universal solvent of all diffi- 

Persecution followed, of course ; and men, 
women, and children, were offered up to the 
demon of superstition, till the candid and 
rational part of mankind, taking fright at the 
holocaust, began to put in their protest, and 
lead out a reaction, which, like all reactions, 
ran right into the opposite extreme. From 
believing everything, they ceased to believe 
anything ; and, after swallowing unhesitatingly 
the most monstrous absurdities, they relieved 
VOL. i. H 


themselves of the whole difficulty, by denying 
the plainest facts ; whilst, what it was found 
impossible to deny, was referred to imagina- 
tion that most abused word, which ex- 
plained nothing, but left the matter as obscure 
as it was before. Man's spiritual nature was 
forgotten; and what the senses could not 
apprehend, nor the understanding account 
for, was pronounced to be impossible. Thank 
God ! we have lived through that age, and, 
in spite of the struggles of the materialistic 
school, we are fast advancing to a better. 
The traditions of the saints who suffered the 
most appalling tortures, and slept or smiled 
the while, can scarcely be rejected now, when 
we are daily hearing of people undergoing 
frightful operations, either in a state of insen- 
sibility, or whilst they believe themselves re- 
velling in delight ; nor can the psychological 
intimations which these facts offer, be much 
longer overlooked. One revelation must lead 
to another ; and the wise men of the world 
will, ere long, be obliged to give in their ad- 
herence to Shakspere's much quoted axiom, 
and confess that " there are more things in 
Heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their 
philosophy !" 



IT has been the opinion of many philosophers, 
both ancient and modern, that, in the original 
state of man, as he came forth from the hands 
of his Creator, that knowledge which is now 
acquired by pains and labour, was intuitive. 
His material body was given him for the 
purpose of placing him in relation with the 
material world, and his sensuous organs for 
the perception of material objects , but his 
soul was a mirror of the universe, in which 
everything was reflected, and, probably, is so 
still, but that the spirit is no longer in a con- 
dition to perceive it. Degraded in his nature, 


and distracted by the multiplicity of the ob- 
jects and interests that surround him, man has 
lost his faculty of spiritual seeing ; but in 
sleep, when the body is in a state of passivity, 
and external objects are excluded from us by 
the shutting up of the senses through which 
we perceive them, the spirit, to a certain 
degree, freed from its impediments, may enjoy 
somewhat of its original privilege. " The 
soul, which is designed as the mirror of a 
superior spiritual order" (to which it belongs), 
still receives, in dreams, some rays from 
above, and enjoys a foretaste of its future con- 
dition ; and, whatever interpretation may be 
put upon the history of the Fall, few will 
doubt that, before it, man must have stood in 
a much more intimate relation to his Creator 
than he has done since. If we admit this, and 
that, for the above hinted reasons, the soul 
in sleep may be able to exercise somewhat of 
its original endowment, the possibility of what 
is called prophetic dreaming may be better 

" Seeing in dreams," says Ennemoser, " is a 
self-illumining of things, places, and times ;" 
for relations of time and space form no ob- 
struction to the dreamer: things, near and far, 
;ue alike seen in the mirror of the soul, ac- 


cording to the connexion in which they stand 
to each other ; and, as the future is but an 
unfolding of the present, as the present is of 
the past, one being necessarily involved in 
the other, it is not more difficult to the un- 
trammelled spirit to perceive what is to 
happen, than what has already happened. 
Under what peculiar circumstances it is that, 
the body and soul fall into this particular 
relative cdndition, we do not know ; but that 
certain families and constitutions are more 
prone to these conditions than others, all ex- 
perience goes to establish. According to the 
theory of Dr. Ennemoser, we should conclude 
that they are more susceptible to magnetic 
influences, and that the body falls into a more 
complete state of negative polarity. 

In the histories of the Old Testament, we 
constantly find instances of prophetic dream- 
ing, and the voice of God was chiefly heard 
by the prophets in sleep ; seeming to establish 
that man is, in that state, more susceptible of 
spiritual communion, although the being thus 
made the special organ of the divine will, is 
altogether a different thing from the mere 
disfranchisement of the embodied spirit in 
ordinary cases of clear seeing in sleep. Pro- 
fane history, also, furnishes us with various 
H 5 


instances of prophetic dreaming-, which it is 
unnecessary for me to refer to here. But 
there is one thing very worthy of remark, 
namely, that the allegorical character of many 
of the dreams recorded in the Old Testament, 
occasionally pervades those of the present day. 
I have heard of several of this nature, and 
Oberlin, the good pastor of Ban de la Roche, 
was so subject to them, that he fancied he had 
acquired the art of interpreting the symbols. 
This characteristic of dreaming is in strict con- 
formity with the language of the Old Testa- 
ment, and of the most ancient nations. Poets 
and prophets, heathen and Christian, alike 
express themselves symbolically, and, if we 
believe that this language prevailed in the 
early ages of the world, before the external 
and intellectual life had predominated over 
the instinctive and emotional, we must con- 
clude it to be the natural language of man, 
who must, therefore, have been gifted with a 
conformable faculty, of comprehending these 
hieroglyphics ; and hence it arose that the 
interpreting of dreams became a legitimate 
art. Long after these instinctive faculties 
were lost, or rather obscured, by the turmoil 
and distractions of sensuous life, the memories 
and traditions of them remained, and hence 


the superstructure of jugglery and imposture 
that ensued, of which the gipsies form a 
signal example, in whom, however, there can 
be no doubt, that some occasional gleams of 
this original endowment may still be found, 
as is the case, though more rarely, in indi- 
vrduals of all races and conditions. The whole 
of nature is one large book of symbols, which, 
because we have lost the key to it, we cannot 
decipher. " To the first man," says Hamann, 
" whatever his ear heard, his eye saw, or his 
hand touched, was a living word ; with this 
word in his heart and in his mouth, the forma- 
tion of language was easy. Man saw things 
in their essence and properties, and named 
them accordingly. 

There can be no doubt that the heathen 
forms of worship and systems of religion were 
but the external symbols of some deep 
meanings, and not the idle fables that they 
have been too frequently considered ; and it is 
absurd to suppose that the theology which 
satisfied so many great minds, had no better 
foundation than a child's fairy tale. 

A maid servant, who resided many years in 
a distinguished family in Edinburgh, was re- 
peatedly warned of the approaching death of 
certain members of that family, by dreaming 
that one of the walls of the house had fallen: 


Shortly before the head of the family sickened 
and died, she said she had dreamt that the 
main wall had fallen. 

A singular circumstance which occurred in 
this same family, from a member of whom I 
heard it, is mentioned by Dr. Abercrombie. 
On this occasion the dream was not only pro- 
phetic, but the symbol was actually translated 
into fact. 

One of the sons being indisposed with a sore 
throat, a sister dreamt that a watch, of con- 
siderable value, which she had borrowed from 
a friend, had stopt; that she had awakened 
another sister and mentioned the circum- 
stance, who answered that " something much 
worse had happened, for Charles's breath had 
stopt." She then awoke, in extreme alarm, 
and mentioned the dream to her sister, who, to 
tranquillize her mind, arose and went to the 
brother's room, where she found him asleep 
and the watch going. The next night, the same 
dream recurred, and the brother was again found 
asleep and the watch going. On the following 
morning, however, this lady was writing a note 
in the drawing-room, with the watch beside her, 
when, on taking it up, she perceived it had 
stopt ; and she was just on the point of calling 
her sister to mention the circumstance, when 
she heard a scream from her brother's room, 


and the sister rushed in with the tidings that 
he had just expired. The malady had not 
been thought serious; but a sudden fit of 
suffocation had unexpectedly proved fatal. 

This case, which is established beyond all 
controversy, is extremely curious in many 
points of view : the acting out of the symbol, 
especially. Symbolical events of this descrip- 
tion have been often related, and as often 
laughed at. It is easy to laugh at what we 
do not understand ; and it gives us the advan- 
tage of making the timid narrator ashamed of 
his fact, so that if he do not wholly suppress 
it, he at least ensures himself by laughing, too, 
the next time he relates it. It is said that 
Goethe's clock stopt at the moment he died ; 
and I have heard repeated instances of 
this strange kind of synchronism, or mag- 
netism, if it be by magnetism that we are 
to account for the mystery. One was told 
me very lately by a gentleman to whom 
the circumstance occurred. 

On the 16th of August, 1769, Frederick 
II. of Prussia is said to have dreamt, that 
a star fell from heaven, and occasioned such an 
extraordinary glare that he could with great 
difficulty find his way through it. He men- 
tioned the dream to his attendants, and it was 


afterwards observed that it was on that day 
Napoleon was born. 

A lady, not long since, related to me the fol- 
lowing circumstance : Her mother, who was 
at the time residing in Edinburgh, in a house, 
one side of which looked into a wynd, whilst 
the door was in the High-street, dreamt 
that, it being Sunday morning, she had heard a 
sound, which had attracted her to the window; 
and, whilst looking out, had dropt a ring from 
her finger into the wynd below. That she 
had, thereupon, gone down in her night clothes 
to seek it ; but when she reached the spot, it 
was not to be found. Returning, extremely 
vexed at her loss, as she re-entered her own 
door she met a respectable looking young man, 
carrying some loaves of bread. On expressing 
her astonishment at finding a stranger there 
at so unseasonable an hour, he answered, by 
expressing his at seeing her in such a situation. 
She said she had dropt her ring, and had been 
round the corner to seek it ; whereupon, to her 
delighted surprise, he presented her with her 
lost treasure. Some months afterwards, being 
at a party, she recognised the young man seen 
in her dream, and learnt that he was a baker. 
He took no particular notice of her on that 
occasion; an 1, 1 think, two years elapsed be 


fore she met him again. This second meeting, 
however, led to an acquaintance, which ter- 
minated in marriage. 

Here the ring and the bread are curiously 
emblematic of the marriage, and the occu- 
pation of the future husband. 

Miss L., residing at Dalkeith, dreamt 
that her brother, who was ill, called her to 
his bedside, and gave her a letter, which he 
desired her to carry to their aunt, Mrs. H., 
with the request that she would deliver it to 
John," (John was another brother, who had 
died previously, and Mrs. H. was at the time 
ill.) He added that, " he himself w=is going 
there also, but that Mrs. H. would be there 
before him." Accordingly, Miss L. went, in 
her dream, with the letter to Mrs. H., whom 
she found dressed in white, and looking quite 
radiant and happy. She took the letter, 
saying she was going there directly, and 
would deliver it. 

On the following morning, Miss L. learnt 
that her aunt had died in the night. The 
brother died some little time afterwards. 

A gentleman who had been a short time 
visiting Edinburgh, was troubled with a 
cough, which, though it occasioned him no 
alarm, he resolved to go home to nurse. On 


the first night of his arrival, he dreamt that 
one half of the house was blown away. His 
bailiff, who resided at a distance, dreamt the 
same dream on the same night. The gentle- 
man died within a few weeks. 

" This symbolical language which the 
Deity appears to have used " (witness Peter's 
dream, Acts ii., and others,) " in all his reve- 
lations to man, is in the highest degree,, what 
poetry is ina lower; and the language of dreams, 
iu the lowest, namely, the original natural 
language of man ; and we may fairly ask 
whether this language, which here plays an 
inferior part, be not, possibly, the proper lan- 
guage of a higher sphere, whilst we, who 
vainly think ourselves awake, are, in reality, 
buried iu a deep, deep sleep, in which, like 
dreamers who imperfectly hear the voices of 
those around them, we occasionally apprehend, 
th ough obscurely, a few words of this Divine 
tongue." ( Vide Schubert.} 

This subject of sleeping and waking is a 
very curious one, and might give rise to 
strange questionings. In the case of those 
patients above mentioned, who seem to have 
two different spheres of existence, who shall 
say which is the waking one, or whether 
either of them be so ? The speculations of 


Mr. Dove on tlm subject merited more atten- 
tion, I think, than they met with, when he 
lectured in Edinburgh. He maintained that, 
long before he had paid any attention to mag- 
netism, he had arrived at the conclusion that 
there are as many states or conditions of mind 
beyond sleep, as there are on this side of it ; 
passing through the different stages of dream- 
ing, reverie, contemplation, &c., up to perfect 
vigilance. However this be, in this world of 
appearance, where we see nothing as it is, and 
where, both as regards our moral and physical 
relations, we live in a state of continual de- 
lusion, it is impossible for us to pronounce' 
on this question. It is a common remark, that 
some people seem to live in a dream, and 
never to be quite awake ; and the most cur- 
sory observer cannot fail to have been struck 
with examples of persons in this condition, 
especially in the aged. 

With respect to this allegorical language, 
Ennemoser observes that, " since no dreamer 
learns it of another, and still less from those 
who are awake, it must be natural to all men." 
How different, too, is its comprehensiveness 
and rapidity, to our ordinary language ! We 
are accustomed, and with justice, to wonder 
at the admirable mechanism by which, with- 

VOL. i. i 


out fatigue or exertion, we communicate with 
our fellow beings ; but how slow and ineffec- 
tive is human speech, compared to this 
{spiritual picture-language, where a whole 
history is understood at a glance ! and scenes 
that seem to occupy days and weeks, are 
acted out in ten minutes. It is remarkable 
that this hieroglyphic language appears to be 
the same amongst all people ; and that the 
dream interpreters of all countries construe the 
signs alike. Thus, the dreaming of deep 
water denotes trouble, and pearls are a sign 
of tears. 

I have heard of a lady, who, whenever a 
misfortune was impending, dreamt that she 
saw a large fish. One night, she dreamt that 
this fish had bitten two of her little boy's 
fingers. Immediately afterwards, a school- 
fellow of the child^s injured those two very 
fingers, by striking him with a hatchet; and 
I have met with several persons who have 
learnt, by experience, to consider one particular 
dream as the certain prognostic of misfortune. 
A lady, who had left the West Indies when 
six years old, came one night, fourteen years 
afterwards, to her sister's bed-side, and said, 
" I know uncle is dead. I have dreamt that I 
saw a number of slaves in the large store- 


room at Barbadoes, with long brooms sweep- 
ing down immense cobwebs. I complained to 
my aunt, and she covered her face and said, 
" Yes, he is no sooner gone than they disobey 
him." It was afterwards ascertained, that 
Mr* P. had died on that night ; and that he had 
never permitted the cobwebs in this room to 
be swept away, of which, however, the lady 
assures me she knew nothing ; nor could she 
or her friends conceive what was meant by 
the symbol of the cobwebs, till they received 
the explanation subsequently, from a member 
of the family. 

The following very curious allegorical dream 
I give, not in the words of the dreamer, but 
in those of her son, who bears a name des- 
tined, I trust, to a long immortality : 

" Wooer's Abbey-Cottage, 

" Dunfermiline-in-the Woods, 

"Monday Morning, 31st May, 1847. 
" Dear Mrs. Crowe, 

" That dream of my mother's was as fol- 
lows: She stood in a long, dark, empty 
gallery : on her one side was my father, and 
on the other my eldest sister Amelia ; then 
myself, and the rest of the family, according to 
their ages. At the foot of the hall stood my 


youngest sister Alexes, and above her my sister 
Catherine a creature, by the way, in person 
and mind more like an angel of heaven than 
an inhabitant of earth. We all stood silent 
and motionless. At last It entered the 
unimagined something that, casting its grim 
shadow before, had enveloped all the trivialties 
of the preceding dream in the stifling atmo- 
sphere of terror. It entered, stealthily de- 
scending the three steps that led from the 
entrance down into the chamber of horror : and 
my mother felt It was Death. He was 
dwarfish, bent, and shrivelled. He carried on 
his shoulder a heavy axe ; and had come, she 
thought, to destroy ' all her little ones at one 
fell swoop.' On the entrance of the shape 
my sister Alexes leapt out of the rank, inter- 
posing herself between him and my mother. 
He raised his axe and aimed a blow at 
Catherine : a blow which, to her horror, my 
mother could not intercept; though she had 
snatched up a three-legged stool, the sole fur- 
niture of the apartment, for that purpose. 
She could not, she felt, fling the stool at the 
figure without destroying Alexes, who kept 
shooting out and in between her and the 
ghastly thing. She tried, in vain, to scream ; 
she besought my father, in agony, to avert the 


impending stroke; but he didnothear,ordidnot 
heed her ; and stood motionless, as in a trance. 
Down came the axe, and poor Catherine fell 
in her blood, cloven to ' the white halse 
bane.' Again the axe was lifted, by the in- 
exorable shadow, over the head of my brother, 
who stood next in the line. Alexes had some- 
where disappeared behind the ghastly visitant; 
and, with a scream, my mother flung the foot- 
stool at his head. He vanished, and she 
awoke. This dream left on my mother's mind 
u fearful apprehension of impending misfortune, 
' which would not pass away.' It was murder 
she feared; and her suspicions were not allayed 
by the discovery that a man some time before 
discarded by my father for bad conduct, and 
with whom she had, somehow, associated the 
Death of her dream had been lurking about 
the place, and sleeping in an adjoining out- 
house on the night it occurred, and for some 
nights previous and subsequent to it. Her 
terror increased. Sleep forsook her ; and every 
night, when the house was still, she arose and 
stole, sometimes with a candle, sometimes in 
the dark, from room to room, listening, in a 
sort of waking night-mare, for the breathing 
of the assassin, who, she imagined, was lurking 
i 5 


in some one of them. This could not last. 
She reasoned with herself; but her terror be- 
came intolerable, and she related her dream to 
my father, who, of course, called her a fool for 
her pains whatever might be his real opinion 
of the matter. Three months had elapsed, when 
we, children, were all of us seized with scarlet 
fever. My sister Catherine died almost im- 
mediately sacrificed, as my mother, in her 
misery, thought, to her (my mother's) over- 
anxiety for Alexes, whose danger seemed more 
imminent. The dream-prophecy was in part 
fulfilled. I, also, was at death's door given 
up by the doctors, but not by my mother : she 
was confident of my recovery ; but for my 
brother, who was scarcely considered in danger 
at all, but on whose head x/ie had seen the 
visionary axe impending, her fears were great ; 
for she could not recollect whether the blow 
had, or had not, descended when the spectre 
vanished. My brother recovered, but relapsed, 
and barely escaped with life ; but Alexes did 
not. For a year and ten months the poor 
child lingered ; and almost every night I had 
to sing her asleep ; often, I remember, through 
bitter tears ; for I knew she was dying, and I 
loved her the more as she wasted away. 1 


helu her little hand as she died; I followed 
her to the grave the last thing- that I have 
loved on earth. And the dream was fulfilled. 
'* True and sincerely your's, 


The dreaming of coffins and funerals, 
when a death is impending, must be considered 
as examples of this allegorical language. 
Instances of this kind are extremely numerous. 
Not un frequently the dreamer, as in cases of 
second sigl.t, sees either the body in the coffin, 
so as to be conscious of who is to die ; or else, 
is made aware of it from seeing the funeral 
procession at a certain house, or from some 
other significant circumstance. This faculty 
which has been supposed to belong peculiarly 
to the Highlanders of Scotland, appears to be 
fully as well known in Wales and on the con- 
tinent, especially in Germany. 

The language of dreams, however, is not 
always symbolical. Occasionally, the scene 
that is transacting at a distance, or that is to 
be transacted at some future period, is literally 
presented to the sleeper, as things appear to 
be presented in many cases of second sight, and 
also in clairvoyance ; and, since we suppose 
him, that is, the sleeper, to be in a tempoiarily 


magnetic state, we must conclude that the 
degree of perspecuity, or translucency of 
the vision, depends on the degree of that state. 
Nevertheless, there are considerable difficulties 
attending this theory. A great proportion of 
the prophetic dreams we hear of, are connected 
with the death of some friend or relative. 
Some, it is true, regard unimportant matters 
as visits, and so forth ; but this is generally, 
though not exclusively, the case only with 
persons who have a constitutional tendency 
to this kind of dreaming, and with whom it is 
frequent ; but it is not uncommon for those 
who have not discovered any such tendency, 
to be made aware of a death ; and the number 
of dreams of this description I meet with, is 
very considerable. Now, it is difficult to con- 
ceive what the condition is, that causes this 
perception of an approaching death ; or why, 
supposing, as we have suggested above, that, 
when the senses sleep, the untrammelled spirit 
sees, the memory of this revelation, if I may 
so call it, so much more frequently survives 
than any other, unless, indeed, it be the force 
of the shock sustained, which shock, it is to be 
remarked, always wakes the sleeper ; and this 
may be the reason that, if he fall asleep again, 
the dream is almost invariably repeated. 


I could fill pages with dreams of this de- 
scription which have come to my knowledge, 
or been recorded by others. 

Mr. H., a gentleman with whom I am 
acquainted, a man engaged in active business, 
and apparently as little likely as any one I 
ever knew to be troubled with a faculty of 
this sort, dreamt that he saw a certain friend 
of his dead. The dream was so like reality, 
that, although he had no reason whatever to 
suppose his friend ill, he could not forbear 
sending in the morning to enquire for him. 
The answer returned was, that Mr. A. was 
out, and was quite well. The impression, 
however, was so vivid, that, although he had 
nearly three miles to send, Mr. H. felt that 
he could not start for Glasgow, whither 
business called him, without making another 
enquiry. This time his friend was at home, 
and answered for himself, that he was very 
well, and that somebody must have been 
hoaxing H., and making him believe other- 
wise. Mr. H. set out on his journey, won- 
dering at his own anxiety, but unable to con- 
quer it. He was absent but a few days I 
think, three ; arid the first news he heard on 
his return was, that his friend had been seized 
with an attack of inflammation, and was dead. 


A German professor lately related to a 
friend of mine, that, being some distance from 
home, he dreamt that his father was dying, 
and was calling for him. The dream being 
repeated, he was so far impressed as to alter 
his plans, and return home, where he arrived 
in time to receive his parent's last breath. He 
was informed that the dying man had been 
calling upon his name repeatedly, in deep 
anguish at his absence. 

A parallel case to this is that of Mr. R. E. S., 
an accountant in Edinburgh, and a shrewd 
man of business, who relates the following 
circumstance as occurring to himself. He is 
a native of Dalkeith, and was residing there, 
when, being about fifteen years of age, he 
left home on a Saturday, to spend a few 
days with a friend at Prestonpans. On the 
Sunday night, he dreamt that his mother was 
extremely ill, and started out of his sleep with 
an impression that he must go to her imme- 
diately. He even got out of bed with the 
intention of doing so, but, reflecting that he 
had left her quite well, and that it was only a 
dream, he returned to bed, and again fell asleep. 
But the dream returned, and, unable longer 
to control his anxiety, he arose, dressed himself 
in the dark, quitted the house, leaping the 


railings that surrounded it, and made the best 
of his way to Dalkeith. On reaching; home, 
which he did before daylight, he tapped at 
the kitchen window, and, on gaining admit- 
tance, was informed that on the Saturday 
evening, after he had departed, his mother had 
been seized with an attack of British cholera? 
and was lying above, extremely ill. She had 
been lamenting his absence extremely, and 
had scarcely ceased crying, " Oh, Ralph, 
Ralph ! what a grief that you are away !" 

At nine o'clock he was admitted to her room ; 
but she was no longer in a condition to recog- 
nise him, and she died within a day or two. 
Instances of this sort are numerous ; but it 
would be tedious to narrate them, especially as 
there is little room for variety in the details. 
I shall, therefore, content myself with giving 
one or two specimens of each class, confining 
my examples to such as have been communi- 
cated to myself, except where any case of par- 
ticular interest leads me to deviate from this 
plan. The frequency of such phenomena 
may be imagined, when I mention that the 
instances I shall give, with few exceptions, 
have been collected with little trouble, and 
without seeking, beyond my own small circle 
of acquaintance. 


In the family of the above-named gentle- 
man, Mr. R. E. S., there probably existed a 
faculty of presentiment ; lor, in the year 1810, 
his elder brother being Assistant-Surgeon on 
board the Gorgon, war-brig, his father dreamt 
that he was promoted to the Sparrow-hawk 
a ship he had then never heard of; 
neither had the family received any intelligence 
of the young man for several months. He 
told his dream, and was well laughed at for his 
pains ; but in a few weeks a letter arrived an- 
nouncing the promotion. 

When Lord Burghersh was giving theatrical 
parties at Florence, a lady, Mrs. M., whose 
presence was very important, excused herself 
one evening, being in great alarm from having 
dreamt in the night that her sister, in England, 
was dead, which proved to be the fact. 

Mr. W., a young man at Glasgow College, 
not long since dreamt that his aunt in Russia 
was dead. He noted the date of his dream on 
the window-shutter of his chamber. In a short 
time the news of the lady's death arrived. The 
dates, however, did not accord ; but, on men- 
tioning the circumstance to a friend, he was 
reminded that the adherence of the Russians 
to the old style reconciled the difference. 

A man of business, in Glasgow, lately 


dreamt that he saw a coffin, on which was 
inscribed the name of a friend, with the date of 
his death. Some time afterwards he was sum- 
moned to attsnd the funeral of that person, 
who, at the time of the dream, was in good 
health, and he was struck with surprise on 
seeing the plate of the coffin bearing the very 
date he had seen in his dream. 

A French gentleman, Monsieur de V., dreamt, 
some years since, that he saw a tomb, on 
which he read, very distinctly, the following 
date 23rd June, 184 ; there were, also, 
some initials, but so much effaced that he 
could not make them out. He mentioned the 
circumstance to his wife ; and, for some time, 
they could not help dreading the recurrence 
of the ominous month ; but, as year after year 
passed, and nothing happened, they had 
ceased to think of it, when, at last, the symbol 
was explained. On the 23rd of June, 1846, 
their only daughter died at the age of 

Thus far the instances I have related seem 
to resolve themselves into cases of simple 
clairvoyance, or second sight, in sleep, although, 
in using these words, I am very far from 
meaning to imply that I explain the thing, or 
unveil its mystery. The theory above alluded 

VOL. i. K 


to, seems, as yet, the only one applicable to 
the facts, namely, that the senses, being placed 
in a negative and passive state, the universal 
sense of the immortal spirit within, which 
sees, and hears, and knows, or rather, in one 
word, perceives, without organs, becomes more 
or less free to work unclogged. That the 
soul is a mirror in which the spirit sees all 
things reflected, is a modification of this theory ; 
but I confess I find myself unable to attach 
any idea to this latter form of expression. 
Another view, which I have heard suggested 
by an eminent person, is, that, if it be true, as 
maintained by Dr. Wigan, and some other 
physiologists, that our brains are double, it is 
possible that a polarity may exist between 
the two sides, by means of which the negative 
side may, under certian circumstances, become a 
mirror to the positive. It seems difficult to 
reconcile this notion with the fact, that these 
perceptions occur most frequently when the 
brain is asleep. How far the sleep is perfect 
and general, however, we can never know ; 
and, of course, when the powers of speech and 
locomotion continue to be exercised, we are 
aware that it is only partial, in a more or less 
degree. In the case of magnetic sleepers, 
observation shows us, that the auditory nerves 



are aroused by being addressed, and fall asleep 
again as soon as they are left undisturbed. In 
most cases of natural sleep, the same process, 
if the voice were heard at all, would disperse 
sleep altogether ; and it must be remembered 
that, as Dr. Holland says, sleep is a fluctuating 
condition, varying from one moment to another, 
and this allowance must be made when con- 
sidering magnetic sleep also. 

It is by this theory of the duality of the 
brain, which seems to have many arguments 
in its favour, and the alternate sleeping 
and waking of the two sides, that Dr. 
Wigan seeks to account for the state of 
double or alternate consciousness above alluded 
to ; and also, for that strange sensation which 
most people have experienced, of having wit- 
nessed a scene, or heard a conversation, at 
some indefinite period before, or even in some 
earlier state of existence. He thinks that one- 
half of the brain being in a more active con- 
dition than the other, it takes cognizance of 
the scene first ; and that thus the perceptions 
of the second, when they take place, appear to 
be a repetition of some former experiences. I 
confess this theory, as regards this latter phe- 
nomenon, is to me eminently unsatisfactory , 
and it is especially defective in not accounting 


for one of the most curious particulars con- 
nected with it, namely, that on these occasion, 
people not only seem to recognise the circum- 
stances as having been experienced before ; 
but they have, very frequently, an actual fore- 
knowledge of what will be next said or done. 

Now, the explanation of this mystery, I in- 
cline to think, may possibly lie in the hypo- 
thesis I have suggested ; namely, that in pro- 
found, and what appears to us generally to 
have been dreamless sleep, we are clear-seers. 
The map of coming events lies open before us, 
the spirit surveys it ; but with the awaking of 
the sensuous organs, this dream-life, with its 
aerial excursions, passes away; and we are 
translated into our other sphere of existence. 
But, occasionally, some flash of recollection, 
some ray of light, from this visionary world, in 
which we have been living, breaks in upon our 
external objective existence, and we recognize 
the locality, the voice, the very words, as being 
but a re-acting of some foregone scenes of a 

The faculty of presentiment, of which every- 
body must have heard instances, seems to have 
some affinity to the phenomenon last referred 
to. I am acquainted with a lady, in whom this 
faculty is in some degree developed, who has 


evinced it by a consciousness of the moment 
when a death was taking place in her family, 
or amongst her connexions, although she does 
not know who it is that has departed. 1 have 
heard of several cases of people hurrying home 
from a presentiment of fire ; and Mr. M. of 
Calderwood was once, when absent from home, 
siezed with such an anxiety about his family, 
that, without being able in any way to account 
for it, he felt himself impelled to fly to them 
and remove them from the house they were 
inhabiting; one wing of which fell down im- 
mediately afterwards. No notion of such a 
misfortune had ever before occurred to him? 
nor was there any reason whatever to expect it; 
the accident originating from some defect in 
the foundations. 

A circumstance, exactly similar to this, is 
related by Stilling, of Professor Bohm, teacher 
of Mathematics at Marburg ; who being one 
evening in company, was suddenly seized with 
a conviction that he ought to go home. As, 
however, he was very comfortably taking his 
tea, and had nothing to do at home, he resisted 
the admonition ; but it returned with such 
force that at length he was obliged to yield. 
On reaching his house, he found everything as 
he had left it ; but he now felt himself urged to 
K 5 


remove his bed from the corner in which it > 
stood to another ; hut as it had always stood 
there, he resisted this impulsion also. How- 
ever, the resistance was vain, ahsurd as it 
seemed, he felt he must do it ; so he summoned 
the maid, and, with her aid, drew the bed to the 
bthersideof theroom ; after which hefeltquite at 
ease and returned to spend the rest of the even- 
ing with his friends. At ten o'clock the party 
broke up, and he retired home and went to bed 
and to sleep. In the middle of the night, he 
was awakened by a loud crash, and on looking 
gut, he saw that a large beam had fallen, 
bringing part of the ceiling with it, and was 
1) ing exactly on the spot his bed had occupied. 
A young servant girl in this neighbourhood, 
who had been several years in an excellent 
situation, where she was much esteemed, was 
suddenly seized with a presentiment that she 
was wanted at home ; and, in spite of all repre- 
sentations, she resigned her place and set out 
on her journey thither ; where, when she ar- 
rived, she found her parents extremely ill, one 
of them mortally, and in the greatest need of 
her services. No intelligence of their illness 
had reached her, nor could she herself in any 
way account for the impulse. I have heard of 
numerous well authenticated cases of people 



escaping drowning from being seized with an 
unaccountable presentiment of evil when there 
were no external signs whatever to justify the 
apprehension. The story of Cazotte as related 
by La Harpe is a very remarkable instance of 
this sort of faculty; and seems to indicate 
a power resembling that possessed by 
Zschokke, who relates of himself, in his auto- 
biography, that, frequently whilst conversing 
with a stranger, the whole circumstances of 
that person's previous life were revealed to 
him, even comprising details of places and 
persons. In the case of Cazotte, it was the 
future that was laid open to him, and he fore- 
told, to a company of eminent persons, in the 
year 1788, the fate which awaited each indi- 
vidual, himself included, in consequence of the 
revolution then commencing. As this story is 
already in print, I forbear to relate it. 

One of the most remarkable cases of pre- 
sentiment I know, is, that which occuiTed, not 
very long since, on board one of her Majesty's 
ships, when lying off Portsmouth. The officers 
being one day at the mess-table, a young 
Lieutenant P. suddenly laid down his knife 
and fork, pushed away his plate, and turned 
extremely pale. He then rose from the table, 
covering his face with his hands, and retired 


from the room The president of the mess, 
supposing him to be ill, sent one of the young 
men to enquire what was the matter. At first, 
Mr. P. was unwilling to speak ; but on being 
pressed, he confessed that he had been seized 
by a sudden and irresistible impression, that a 
brother he had then in India was dead. " He 
died," said he, "on the 12th of August, at 
six o'clock ; I am perfectly certain of it !" 
No arguments could overthrow this convic- 
tion, which, in due course of post, was verified 
to the letter. The young man had died at 
Cawnpore, at the precise period mentioned. 

When any exhibition of this sort of faculty 
occurs in animals, which is by no means un- 
frequent, it is termed instinct ; and we look 
upon it, as what it probably is, only another 
and more rare development of that intuitive 
knowledge which enables them to seek their 
food, and perform the other functions necessary 
to the maintenance of their existence, and the 
continuance of their race. Now, it is remark- 
able, that the life of an animal is a sort of 
dream-life ; their ganglionic system is more 
developed than that of man, and the cerebral, 
less ; and since it is doubtless, from the greater 
development of the ganglionic system in 
women, that they exhibit more frequent in- 


stances of such abnormal phenomena as I am 
treating of. than men, we may be, perhaps, 
justified in considering the faculty of presenti- 
ment in a human being as a suddenly awakened 
instinct ; just as in an animal, it is an inten- 
sified instinct. 

Everybody has either witnessed or heard of 
instances of this sort of presentiment, in dogs 
especially. For the authenticity of the follow- 
ing anecdote I can vouch ; the traditions being 
very carefully preserved in the family con- 
cerned, from whom I have it. In the last 
century, Mr. P., a member of this family, who 
had involved himself in some of the stormy 
affairs of this northern part of the island, 
was one day surprised by seeing a favourite dog, 
that was lying at his feet, start suddenly up 
and seize him by the knee, which he pulled 
not with violence, but in a manner that indi- 
cated a wish that his master should follow him 
to the door. The gentleman resisted the invi- 
tation for some time ; till at length the perse- 
verance of the animal arousing his curiosity, 
he yielded, and was thus conducted by the dog 
into the most sequestered part of a neighbour- 
ing thicket, where, however, he could see no- 
thing to account for his dumb friend's pro- 
ceeding, who now lay himself down, quite 


satisfied, and seemed to wish his master to 
follow the example ; which, determined to 
pursue the adventure and find out, if possible, 
what was meant, he did. A considerable 
time now elapsed before the dog would consent 
to his master's going home ; but at length he 
arose and led the way thither, when the first 
news Mr. P. heard was, that a party of soldiers 
had been there in quest of him ; and he was 
shown the marks of their spikes, which had been 
thrust through the bed-clothes in their search. 
He fled, and ultimately escaped ; his life being 
thus preserved by his dog. 

Some years ago, at Plymouth, I had a brown 
spaniel that regularly, with great delight, 
accompanied my son and his nurse in their 
morning's walk. One day, she carne to com- 
plain to me that Tiger would not go out with 
them. Nobody could conceive the reason of 
so unusual a caprice ; and, unfortunately, we 
did not yield to it, but forced him to go. In 
less than a quarter of an hour he was brought 
back, so torn to pieces, by a savage dog that 
had just come ashore from a foreign vessel, 
that it was found necessary to shoot him im 



THIS comparison, betwixt the power of pre- 
sentiment in a human being and the instincts 
of an animal, may be offensive to some people; 
but it must be admitted, that, as far as we 
can see, the manifestation is the same, what- 
ever be the cause. Now, the body of an animal 
must be informed by an immaterial principle 
let us call it soul or spirit, or anything else ; 
for it is evident that their actions are not the 
mere result of organization ; and all I mean 
to imply is, that this faculty of fore-seeing 
must be inherent in intelligent spirit, let it 


be lodged in what form of flesh it may ; 
whilst, with regard to what instinct is, we are, 
in the meanwhile, in extreme ignorance. 
Instinct being a word which, like Imagina- 
tion, everybody uses, and nobody understands. 
Ennemoser and Schubert believe, that the 
instinct by which animals seek their food 
consists in polarity, but I have met with only 
two modern theories which pretend to ex- 
plain the phenomena of presentiment ; the one 
is, that the person is in a temporarily magnetic 
state, and that the presentiment is a kind of 
clairvoyance. That the faculty, like that of 
prophetic dreaming, is constitutional, and 
chiefly manifested in certain families, is well 
established ; and the very unimportant events, 
such as visits, and so forth, on which it fre- 
quently exercises itself, forbid us to seek an 
explanation in a higher source. It seems, 
also, to be quite independent of the will of the 
subject, as it was in the case of Zschokke, 
who found himself thus let into the secrets of 
persons in whom he felt no manner of inter- 
est ; whilst, where the knowledge might have 
been of use to him, he could not command it. 
The theory of one-half of the brain in a nega- 
tive state, serving as a mirror to the other 
half, if admitted at all, may answer as well, 


or better, for these waking presentiments, 
than for clear-seeing in dreams. But, for my 
own part, I incline very much to the views of 
that school of philosophers who adopt the first 
and more spiritual theory, which seems to me, 
to offer fewer difficulties, whilst, as regards 
our present nature, and our future hopes, it 
is certainly more satisfactory. Once admitted 
that the body is but the temporary dwelling 
of an immaterial spirit, the machine through 
which, and by which, in its normal states, the 
spirit alone can manifest itself, I cannot see 
any great difficulty in conceiving that, in cer- 
tain conditions of that body, their relations 
may be modified, and that the spirit may per- 
ceive, by its own inherent quality, without 
the aid of its matt rial vehicle ; and, as this 
condition of the body may arise from causes 
purely physical, we see at once why trie reve*- 
lations frequently regard such unimportant 

Plutarch, in his dialogue betwixt Lamprius 
ana Ammonius, observes, that if the Daemons, 
or protecting spirits, that watch over mankind 
are disembodied souls, we ought not to doubt 
that those spirits, even when in the flesh, pos- 
sessed the faculties they now en^oy, since we 
have no reason to suppose that any new ones 

VOL. i. L 


are conferred at the period of dissolution ; for 
these faculties must be inherent, although 
temporarily obscured, and weak and ineffective 
in their manifestations. As it is not when 
the sun breaks from behind the clouds that 
he first begins to shine, so it is not when the 
soul issues from the body, as from a cloud that 
envelopes it, that it first attains the power of 
looking- into the future. 

But the events foreseen are not always unim- 
portant, nor is the mode of the communication 
always of the same nature. I have mentioned 
above, some instances wherein danger was 
avoided, and there are many of the same kind re- 
corded in various works ; and it is the number 
of instances of this description, corroborated 
hy the universal agreement of all somnam- 
bulists of a higher order, which has induced a 
considerable section of the German psycho- 
logists to adopt the doctrine of guardian 
spirits a doctrine which has prevailed, more 
or less, in all ages ; and has been considered 
by many theologians to be supported by the 
Bible. There is in this country, and I believe 
in France, also, though with more exceptions, 
such an extreme aversion to admit the possi- 
bility of anything like what is called super- 
natural agency, that the mere avowal of such a 


persuasion is enough to discredit one's under- 
standing with a considerable part of the world ; 
not excepting those who profess to believe in 
the scriptures. Yet, even apart from this latter 
authority, I cannot see anything repugnant to 
reason in such a belief. As far as we see of 
nature, there is a continued series from the 
lowest to the highest; and what right have we 
to conclude that we are the last link of the 
chain ? Why may there not be a gamut of 
beings ? That such should be the case, is cer- 
tainly in accordance with all that we see; and 
that we do not see them, affords, as I have 
said above, not a shadow of argument against 
their existence ; man, immersed in business 
and pleasure, living only his sensuous life, is 
too apt to forget how limited those senses are, 
how merely designed for a temporary purpose, 
and how much may exist of which they can 
take no cognizance. 

The possibility&dmitted, the chief arguments 
against the probability of such a guardianship, 
are the interference it implies with the free- 
will of man, on the one hand, and the rarity of 
this interference, on the other. With respect 
to the first matter of free-will, it is a subject 
of acknowledged difficulty, and beyond the 
scope of my work. Nobody can honestly look 


back upon his past life without feeling per- 
plexed by the question, of how far he was, or 
was not able, at the moment, to resist certain 
impulsions, which caused him to commit 
wrong- or imprudent actions ; and it must, I 
fear, ever remain a qucestio vexata how far our 
virtues and vices depend upon our organi- 
zation ; an organization whose constitution is 
beyond our own power, in the first instance, 
although we may certainly improve or deteri- 
orate it ; but which we must admit, at the same 
time, to be, in its present deteriorated form, 
the ill result of the world's corruption, and the 
inherited penalty of the vices of our prede- 
cessors ; whereby the sins of the fathers are 
visited upon the children unto the third and 
fourth generation. 

There is, as the Scriptures say, but one way 
to salvation, though there are many to per- 
dition, that is, though there are many wrongs, 
there is only one right ; for truth is one, and 
our true liberty consists in being free to follow 
it ; for we cannot imagine that anybody seeks 
his own perdition, and nobody, I conceive, 
loves vice for its own sake, as others love 
virtue, that is, because it is vice; so that, 
when they follow its dictates, we must con- 
clude that they are not free, but in bondage, 


whose ever bond-slave they be, whether of an 
evil spirit, or of their own organization ; and, 
I think, every human being who looks into 
himself will feel, that he is, in effect then 
only free when he is obeyingthe dictates of vir- 
tue ; and that the language of Scripture, which 
speaks of sin as a bondage, is not only meta- 
phorically, but literally, true. 

The warning a person of an impending 
danger, or error, implies no constraint; the 
subject of the warning is free to take the hint 
or not, as he pleases ; we receive many cau- 
tions, both from other people and from ourown 
consciences, which we refuse to benefit by. 

With regard to the second objection, it seems 
to have greater weight ; for although the in- 
stances of presentiment are very numerous 
taken apart, they are, certainly, as far as we 
know, still but exceptional cases. But here 
we must remember, that an influence of this 
sort might be very continuously, though some- 
what remotely, excercised in favour of an indi- 
vidual, without the occurrence of any instance 
of so striking a nature, as to render the inter- 
ference manifest ; and certain it is, that some 
people I have met with several and very sen- 
sible persons, too, have all their lives an intui- 
tive persuasion of such a guardianship existing 



in relation to themselves. That in our normal 
states it was not intended we should hold sen- 
sible communion with the invisible world, 
seems evident ; but nature abounds in excep- 
tions ; and there may be conditions regarding 
both parties, the incorporated and the unincor- 
porated spirit, which may at times bring them 
into a more intimate relation. No one who 
believes that consciousness is to survive the 
death of the body, can doubt that the released 
spirit will then hold communion with its con- 
geners ; it being the fleshly tabernacles we in- 
habit which alone disables us from doing so at 
present ; but since the constitutions of bodies 
vary exceedingly, not only in different indivi- 
duals, but in the same individuals at different 
times, may we not conceive the possibility of 
there existing conditions, which by diminishing 
the obstructions, render this communion prac- 
ticable within certain limits ? For there, cer- 
tainly, are recorded and authentic instances of 
presentiments and warnings, that with diffi- 
culty admit of any other explanation ; and that 
these admonitions are more frequently received 
in the state of sleep than of vigilance, rather 
furnishes an additional argument in favour of 
the last hypothesis ; for if there be any 
foundation for the theories above suggested, it 


is then, that the sensuous functions being in 
abeyance, and the external life thereby shut 
out from us, the spirit would be most suscep 
tible to the operations of spirit, whether of our 
deceased friends or of appointed ministers, if 
such there be. Jung Stelling is of opinion that 
we must decide from the aim and object of the re- 
velation, whether it be a mere development of the 
faculty of presentiment, or a case of spiritual 
intervention ; but this would surely be a very 
erroneous mode of judging, since the presenti- 
ment that foresees a visit, may foresee a 
danger, and show us how to avoid it, as in the 
following instance : 

A few years ago, Dr. W., now residing at 
Glasgow, dreamt that he received a summons 
to attend a patient at a place some miles from 
where he was living ; that he started on 
horseback, and that as he was crossing a moor, 
he saw a bull making furiously at him, whose 
horns he only escaped by taking refuge on a 
spot inaccessible to the animal ; where he 
waited a long time, till some people, observing 
his situation, came to his assistance and re- 
leased him. Whilst at breakfast, on the fol- 
lowing morning, the summons came ; and, 
smiling at the odd coincidence, he started on 
horseback. He was quite ignorant of the road 


he had to go ; hut, by and by, he arrived at 
the moor, which he recognised, and presently 
the bull appeared, coming full tilt towards 
him. But his dream had shown him the place 
of refuge, for which he instantly made ; and 
there he spent three or four hours, besieged by 
the animal, till the country people set him free. 
Dr. W. declares, that but for the dream, he 
should not have known in what direction to 
runt for safety. 

A Butcher named Bone, residing at Holy- 
town, dreamt a few years since, that he was 
stopt at a particular spot on his way to market, 
whither he was going on the following day to 
purchase cattle, by two men in blue clothes, 
who cut his throat. He told the dream to his 
wife, who laughed at him ; but as it was re- 
peated two or tnree times, and she saw he was 
really alarmed, she advised him to join some- 
body who was going the same road. He ac- 
cordingly listened till he heard a cart passing 
his door, and then went out and joined the 
mau, telling him the reason for so doing. 
When they came to the spot, there actually 
stood the two men in blue clothes, who, seeing 
he was not alone, took to their heels and ran. 

Now, although the dream was here probably 
themeansofsavingBone'slife^hereisno reason 


to suppose this a case of what is called super- 
natural intervention. The phenomenon would 
be sufficiently accounted for by the admission 
of the hypothesis I have suggested ; namely, 
that he was aware of the impending 
danger in his sleep, and had been able, from 
some dause unknown to us, to convey the 
recollection into his waking state. 

I know instances in which, for several 
mornings previous to the occurrence of a 
calamity, persons have awakened with a pain- 
ful sense of misfortune, for which they could 
not account, and which was dispersed as soon 
as they had time to reflect that they had no 
cause for uneasiness. This is the only kind of 
presentiment I ever experienced myself; but 
it has occurred to me twice, in a very marked 
and unmistakeable manner. As soon as the 
intellectual life, the life of the brain, and the 
external world broke in, the instinctive life 
receded, and the intuitive knowledge was ob- 
scured. Or, according to Dr. Ennemoser's 
theory, the polar relations changed, and the 
nerves were busied with conveying sensuous 
impressions to the brain, their sensibility or 
positive state now being transferred from the 
internal to the external periphery. It is by 
the contrary change that Dr. Ennemoser seeks 


to explain the insensibility to pain of 
mesmerised patients. 

A circumstance of a similar kind to the 
above occurred in a well known family in 
Scotland, the Rutheifords of E. A lady 
dreamt that her aunt, who resided at some 
distance, was murdered by a black servant. 

Impressed with the liveliness of the vision, 
she could not resist going to the house of her re- 
lation, where the man she had dreamt of, whom 
I think she had never before seen, opened the 
door to her. Upon this, she induced a gentle- 
man to watch in the adjoining room during 
the night ; and towards morning hearing a foot 
upon the stairs, he opened the door and dis- 
covered the black servant carrying up a coal 
scuttle full of coals, for the purpose, as he said, 
of lighting his mistress's fire. As this motive 
did not seem very probable, the coals were ex- 
amined and a knife found hidden amongst them, 
with which, he afterwards confessed, he in- 
tended to have murdered his mistress, provided 
she made any resistance to a design he had 
formed, of robbing her of a large sum ol money, 
which he was aware she had that day received. 

The following case has been quoted in se- 
veral medical works at least in works written 


by learned doctors, and on that account I 
should not mention it here, but for the pur- 
pose of remarking on the extraordinary 
facility with which, whilst they do not ques- 
tion the fact, they dispose of the mystery. 

Mr. D., of Cumberland, when a youth, came 
to Edinburgh, for the purpose of attending 
College, and was placed under the care of his 
uncle and aunt, Major and Mrs. Griffiths, who 
then resided in the castle. When the fine 
weather came, the young man was in the habit 
of making frequent excursions, with others of 
his own age and pursuits ; and one afternoon he 
mentioned that they had formed a fishing party, 
and had bespoken a boat for the ensuing day. 
No objections were made to this plan ; but in 
the middle of the night, Mrs. Griffiths screamed 
out, " The boat is sinking ! Oh, save them !" 
Her husband said, he supposed she had been 
thinking of the fishing party ; but she declared 
she had never thought about it, at all, and 
soon fell asleep again. But, ere long, she 
awoke a second time, crying out that she "saw 
the boat sinking !" "It must have been the 
remains of the impression made by the other 
dream," she suggested to her husband, "for I 
have no uneasiness, whatever, about the fish- 
ing party." but on going to sleep once more, 


her husband was again disturbed by her cries, 
" they are gone ! " she said, " the boat has 
sunk ! " She now, really, became alarmed, 
and, without waiting 1 for morning 1 , she threw 
on her dressing- gown, and went to Mr. D., 
who was still in bed, and, whom with much 
difficulty, she persuaded to relinquish his pro- 
posed excursion. He, consequently, sent his 
servant to Leith, with an excuse; and the 
party embarked without him. The day was 
extremely fine, when they put to sea ; but 
some hours afterwards, a storm arose, in 
which the boat foundered ; nor did any one of 
the number survive to tell the tale. 

" This dream is easily accounted for," say 
the learned gentlemen above alluded to, "from 
the dread all women have of the water, and 
the danger that attends boating on the Frith 
of Forth !" Now, I deny that all women have 
a dread of the water, and there is not the 
slightest reason for concluding that Mrs. 
Griffiths had. At all events, she affirms that 
she felt no uneasiness at all about the party, 
and one might take leave to think that her 
testimony upon that subject is of more value 
than that of persons who never had any ac- 
quaintance with her, and who were not so 
much as born at the time the circumstance 


occurred, which was in the year 1731. Be- 
sides, if Mrs. Griffith's dream arose simply 
from " the dread all women have of the water," 
and that its subsequent verification was a mere 
coincidence, since women constantly risk their 
persons for voyages, and boating 1 excursions, 
such dreams should be extremely frequent ; 
the fact of there being 1 any accident impend- 
ing 1 , or not, having, according 1 to this theory, 
no relation whatever to the phenomenon. 
And as for the danger that attends boating on 
the Frith of Forth, we must naturally suppose 
that had it been considered so imminent, 
Major Griffiths would have, at least, endea- 
voured to dissuade a youth that was placed 
under his protection from risking his life so 
imprudently. It would be equally reasonable 
to explain away Dr. W.'s dream, by saying, 
that all gentlemen who have to ride across 
commons are in great dread of encountering a 
bull commons, in general, being infested by 
that animal. 

Miss D., a friend of mine, was some time 
since invited to join a pic-nic excursion into the 
country. Two nights before the day fixed for 
the expedition, she dreamt that the carriage she 
was to go in, was overturned down a precipice. 
Impressed with her dream, she declined the ex- 



cursion, confessing her reason, and advising the 
rest of the party to relinquish their project. They 
laughed at her, and persisted in their scheme. 
When, subsequently, she went to enquire how 
they had spent the day, she found the ladies con- 
fined to their beds, from injuries received ; the 
carriage haivng been overturned down a preci- 
pice. Still, this was only a coincidence ! 

Another specimen of the haste with which 
people are willing to dispose of what they 
do not understand, is afforded by a case 
that occurred, not many years since, in 
the north of Scotland, where a murder 
having been committed, a man came forward 
saying that he had dreamt that the pack of the 
murdered pedlar was hidden in a certain spot ; 
where, on a search being made, it was actually 
found. They atfirst concluded he was himself the 
assassin, but the real criminal was afterwards 
discovered ; and it being asserted, though I 
have been told erroneously, that the two men 
had passed some time together, since the 
murder, in a state of intoxication, it was 
decided that the crime and the place of con- 
cealment had been communicated to the pre- 
tended dreamer ; and all who thought other- 
wise were laughed at; for why, say the ration- 
alists, should not Providence have so ordered 


the dream as to have prevented the murder 
altogether ? 

AY ho can answer that question, and whither 
would such a discussion leads us ? Moreover* 
if. this faculty of presentiment be a natural 
one, though only imperfectly and capriciously 
developed, there may have been no design in 
the matter ; it is an accident, just in the same 
sense as an illness is an accident ; that is, not 
without cause, but without a cause that we 
can penetrate. If, on the other hand, we have 
recourse to the intervention of spiritual beings, 
it may be answered that we are entirely igno- 
rant of the conditions under which any such 
communication is possible; and that we can- 
not therefore come to any conclusions as to 
why so much is done, and no more. 

But there is another circumstance to be 
observed in considering the case, which is, that 
the dreamer is said to have passed some days 
in a state of intoxication. Now, even supposing 
this had been true, it is well-known that the 
excitement of the brain, caused by intoxication, 
has occasionally produced a very remarkable 
exaltation of certain faculties. It is by means, 
either of intoxicating draughts or vapours, 
that the soothsayers of Lapland and Siberia 
place themselves in a condition to vaticinate ; 


and we have every reason to believe that drugs, 
producing similar effects, were resorted to by 
the thaumaturgists of old, and by the witqhes 
of later days, of which I shall have more to say 
hereafter. But as a case in point, I may here 
allude to the phenomena exhibited in a late 
instance of the application of ether, by Pro- 
fessor Simpson, of Edinburgh, to a lady who 
was at the moment under circumstances not 
usually found very agreeable. She said that 
she was amusing- herself delightfully by play- 
ing over a set of quadrilles, which she had 
known in her youth, but had long forgotten ; 
but she now perfectly remembered them, and 
hadplayed them over several times. Here was 
an instance of the exaltation of a faculty from 
intoxication, similar to that of the woman who, 
in her delirium, spoke a language which she 
had only heard in her childhood, and of which, 
in her normal state, she had no recollection. 

That the inefficiency of the communication, 
or presentiment, or whatever it may be, is no 
argument against the fact of such dreams oc- 
curring, I can safely assert, from cases which 
have come under my own knowledge. A pro- 
fessional gentleman, whose name would be a 
warrant for the truth of whatever he relates, 
told me the following circumstance regarding 


himself. He was, not very long since, at the 
sea-side, with his family, and, amongst the 
rest, he had with him one of his sons, a boy 
about twelve years of age, who was in the 
habit of bathing daily, his father accompany- 
ing him to the water side. This practice had 
continued during the whole of their visit, and 
no idea of danger or accident had ever occurred 
to anybody. On the day preceding the one 
appointed for their departure, Mr. H., the 
gentleman in question, felt himself, after 
breakfast, surprised by an unusual drowsiness, 
which he, having vainly struggled to over- 
come, at length fell asleep in his chair, and 
dreamt that he was attending his son to the 
bath as usual, when he suddenly saw the boy 
drowning, and that he himself had rushed 
into the water, dressed as he was, and brought 
him ashore. Though he was quite conscious 
of the dream when he awoke, he attached no 
importance to it; he considered it merely a 
dream, no more ; and when, some hours after- 
wards, the boy came into the room, and said, 
" Now, papa, it's time to go ; this will be my 
last bath $" his morning's vision did not even 
recur to him. They walked down to the sea, 
as usual, and the boy went into the water, 
whilst the father stood composedly watching 
M 5 


him from the beach, when, suddenly, the child 
lost his footing, a wave had caught him, and 
the danger of his being carried away was so 
imminent, that, without even wailing to take 
off his great coat, boots, or hat, Mr. H. rushed 
into the water, and was only just in time to 
save him. 

Here is a case of undoubted authenticity, 
which I take to be an instance of clear-seeing, 
or second sight, in sleep. The spirit, with its 
intuitive faculty, saw what was impending; 
the sleeper remembered his dream, but the 
intellect did not accept the warning ; and, 
whether that warning was merely a subjec- 
tive process the clear-seeing of the spirit 
or whether it was effected by any external 
agency, the free will of the person concerned 
was not interfered with. 

I quote the ensuing similar case from the 
Frankfort Journal, 25th June, 1837: "A 
singular circumstance is said to be connected 
with the late attempt on the life of the Arch- 
bishop of Autun. The two nights preceding 
the attack, the prelate dreamt that he saw a 
man, who was making repeated efforts to take 
away his life, and he awoke in extreme terror 
and agitation from the exertions he had made 
to escape the danger. The features and ap- 


pearance of the man were so clearly imprinted 
on his memory, that he recognized him the 
moment his eye fell upon him, which happened 
as he was coming out of church. The bishop 
hid his face, and called his attendants, but 
the man had fired before he could make known 
his apprehensions. Facts of this description 
are far from uncommon. It appears that the 
assassin had entertained designs against the 
Jives of the Bishops of Dijon, Burgos, and 
Nevers. 1 ' 

The following case,which occurred a few years 
since, in the North of England, and which, I 
have from the best authority,is remark able from 
the inexorable fatality which brought about the 
fulfilment of the dream : Mrs. K., a lady of 
family and fortune in Yorkshire^ said to her 
son, one morning, on descending to breakfast, 
" Henry, what are you going to do to-day ?" 

" I am going to hunt," replied the young 

" I am very glad of it," she answered, ". I 
should not like you to go shooting, for I dreamt 
last night that you did so, and were shot. 
The son answered gaily, that he would take 
care not to be shot, and the hunting party 
rode away ; but, in the middle of the day they 
returned, not having found any sport. Mr. 


B., a visitor in the house, then proposed that 
they should go out with their guns, and try to 
find some woodcocks. " I will go with you," 
returned the young man, "but I must not 
shoot to-day, myself, for my mother dreamt 
last night I was shot; and, nlthough it is hut 
a dream, she would be uneasy." 

They went, Mr. B. with his gun, and Mr. 
K.. without; but shortly afterwards the beloved 
-son was brought home dead. A charge from 
the gun of his companion had struck him in 
the eye, entered his brain, and killed him on 
the spot. Mr. B., the unfortunate cause of 
this accident, and also the narrator of it, died 
but a few weeks since. 

It is well known that the murder of Mr. 
Percival,by Bellingham, was seen in sleep by 
a gentleman at York, who actually went to 
London in consequence of his dream, which 
was several times repeated. He arrived too 
late to prevent the calamity ; neither would he 
have been believed, had he arrived earlier. 

In the year 1461, a merchant was travelling 
towards Rome, by Sienna, when he dreamt that 
his throat was cut. He communicated his 
dream to the host of the inn, who did not like it, 
and advised him to pray and confess. He did 
bo, and then rode forth, and was presently 


attacked by the priest he had confessed to, 
who had thus learnt his apprehensions. He 
killed the merchant, but was betrayed, and 
disappointed of his gains, by the horse taking 
fright, and running back to the inn with the 
money bags. 

I have related this story, though not a new 
one, on account of its singular resemblance to 
the following, which I take from a newspaper 
paragraph ; but which I find mentioned as a 
fact in a continental publication : 

Jetter from Hamburgh, contains the fol- 
lowing curious story, relative to the verifica- 
tion of a dream. It appears that a locksmith's 
apprentice, one morning lately, informed his 
master (Claude Seller), that on the previous 
night he dreamt that he had been assassinated 
on the road to Bergsdorff, a little town at 
about two hours' distance from Hamburgh. 
The master laughed at the young man's credu- 
lity, and to prove that he himself had little 
faith in dreams, insisted upon sending him to 
Bergsdorff, with 140 rix dollars (.22 8s.), 
which he owed to his brother-in-law, who re- 
sided in the town. The apprentice, after in 
vain imploring his master to change his inten- 
tion, was compelled to set out, at about eleven 


o'clock. On arriving at the village of Bill- 
waerder, about half-way between Hamburgh 
and Bergsdorff, he recollected his dream with 
terror, but perceiving the baillie of the village 
at a little distance, talking to some of his 
workmen, he accosted him, and acquainted 
him with his singular dream, at the same time 
requesting, that, as he had money about his 
person, one of his workmen might be allowed 
to accompany him for protection across a 
small wood which lay in his way. The baillie 
smiled, and, in obedience to his orders, one of 
his men set out with the young apprentice. 
The next day, the corpse of the latter was con- 
veyed by some peasants to the baillie, along 
with a reaping-hook, which had been found 
by his side, and, with which, the throat of the 
murdered youth had been cut. The baillie 
immediately recognised the instrument as one 
which he had on the previous day given to the 
workman who had served as the apprentice's 
guide, for the purpose of pruning some willows. 
The workman was apprehended, and, on being 
confronted with the body of his victim, made 
a full confession of his crime, adding, that the 
recital of the dream had alone prompted him to 
commit the horrible act. The assassin, who 
is thirty- five years of age, is a native of Bill- 


waerder, and, previously to the perpetration 
of the murder, had always borne an irreproach- 
able character." 

The life of the great Harvey was saved by 
the Governor of Dover refusing to allow him 
to embark for the Continent, with his friends. 
The vessel was lost, with all on board ; and 
the Governor confessed to him, that he had 
detained him in consequence of an injunction 
he had received in a dream to do so. 

There is a very curious circumstance related 
by Mr. Ward, in his " Illustrations of Human 
Life," regarding the late Sir Evan Nepean, 
which, I believe is perfectly authentic. I have, 
at least been assured, by persons well ac- 
quainted with him, that he himself testified to 
its truth. 

Being, at the time, Secretary to the Admi- 
raly, he found himself one night unable to 
sleep, and urged by an undefinable feeling that 
he must rise, though it was then only two 
o'clock. He accordingly did so, and went 
into the park, and from that to the Home 
Office, which he entered by a private door, of 
which he had the key. He had no object in 
doing this, and to pass the time, he took up a 
newspaper that was lying on the table, and 
there read a paragraph to the effect, that a re- 


prieve had been dispatched to York, for the 
men condemned for coining. 

The question occurred to him, was it indeed 
dispatched? He examined the books and 
found it was not ; and it was only by the most 
energetic proceedings that the thing was 
carried through, and reached York in time to 
save the men. 

Is not this like the agency of a protecting 
spirit, urging Sir Evan to this discovery, in 
order that these men might be spared; or that 
those concerned might escape the remorse 
they would have suffered for their criminal 
neglect ? 

It is a remarkable fact, that somnambules of 
the highest order believe themselves attended 
by a protecting spirit. To those who do not 
believe, because they have never witnessed the 
phenomena of somnambulism, or who look 
upon the disclosures of persons in that state, 
as the mere raving of hallucination, this autho- 
rity will necessarily have no weight ; but even 
to such persons, the universal coincidence, 
must be considered worthy of observation, 
though it be regarded only as a symptom of 
disease. I believe I have remarked, else- 
where, that many persons, who have not the 
least tendency to somnambulism, or any proxi- 



mate malady, have, all their lives, an intuitive 
feeling of such a guardianship ; and, not to 
mention Socrates and the ancients, there are, 
besides, numerous recorded cases in modern 
times, in which persons, not somnambulic, 
have declared themselves to have seen and 
held communication with their spiritual pro- 

The case of the girl called Ludwiger, who, 
in her infancy, had lost her speech, and the 
use of her limbs, and who was earnestly com- 
mitted by her mother, when dying, to the care 
of her elder sisters, is known to many. These 
young women piously fulfilled their engage- 
ment, till the wedding-day of one of them 
caused them to forget their charge. On recol- 
lecting it, at length, they hastened home, and 
found the girl to their amazement, sitting up 
in her bed, and she told them, that her mother 
had been there and given her food. She never 
spoke again, ond soon after died. This cir- 
cumstance occurred at Dessau, not many 
years since ; and is, according to Schubert, a 
perfectly established fact in that neighbour- 
hood. The girl, at no other period of her life 
exhibited any similar phenomena, nor had she 
ever displayed any tendency to spectral illu- 

VOL. i. N 


The wife of a respectable citizen, named 
Arnold, at Heilbronn, held constant communi- 
cations with her protecting spirit, who warned 
her of impending dangers, approaching vi- 
sitors, and so forth. He was only once visible 
to her, and it was in the form of an old man ; 
but his presence was felt by others as well as 
herself, and they were sensible that the air 
was stirred, as by a breath. 

.lung Stilling publishes a similar account, 
which was bequeathed to him by a very worthy 
and pious minister of the church. The sub- 
ject of the guardianship was his own wife ; 
and the spirit first appeared to her after her 
marriage, in the year 1799, as a child, attired 
in a white robe, whilst she was busy in her 
bed-chamber. She stretched out her hand to 
take hold of the figure, but it disappeared. 
It frequently visited her afterwards, and in 
answer to her enquiries, it said, " I died in my 
childhood ! " It came to her at all hours, 
whether alone or in company, and not only at 
home, but elsewhere, and even when travelling, 
assisting her when in danger ; it sometimes 
floated in the air, spake to her in its own lan- 
guage, which, somehow, she says, she under- 
stood, and could speak, too; and it was once 
seen by another person. He bade her call him 

[> WARNINGS. 135 

Immanuel. She earnestly begged him to show 
himself to her husband, but he alleged that it 
would make him ill, and cause his death. On 
asking him wherefore, he answered, " few 
persons are able to see such things." 

Her two children, one six years old, and the 
other younger, saw this figure as well as 

Schubert, in his " Geschichte der Seele," 
relates that the ecclesiastical councillor 
Schwartz, of Heidelberg, when about twelve 
years of age, and at a time that he was learning 
the Greek language, but knew very little 
about it, dreamt that his grandmother, a very 
pious woman, to whom he had been much 
attached, appeared to him, and unfolded a 
parchment, inscribed with Greek characters, 
which foretold the fortunes of his future life. 
He read it off with as much facility as if it had 
been in German ; but being dissatisfied with some 
particulars of the prediction, he begged they 
might be changed. His grandmother answered 
him in Greek, whereupon he awoke, remem- 
bering the dream, but, in spite of the efforts 
to arrest them, he was unable to recall the parti- 
culars the parchment had contained. The 
answer of his grandmother, hosvever, he was 
able to grasp before it had fled his memory, 


and he wrote down the words ; but the 
meaning' of them he could not discover, 
without the assistance of his Grammar and 
Lexicon. Being- interpreted, they proved to 
he these u As it is prophecied to me, so I 
prophecy to thee '/' He had written the words 
in a volume of Gessner's works, being- the 
first thing- he laid his hand on ; and he often 
philosophized on them in later days, when 
they chanced to meet his eye. How, he says, 
should he have been able to read and produce 
that in his sleep, which, in his waking- state, 
he would have been quite incapable of? 
" Even long after, when I left school," he adds, 
" I could scarcely have put tog-ether such a 
sentence ; and it is extremely remarkable 
that the feminine form was observed in con- 
formity with the sex of the speaker. The 
words were these 7~auVa 

Grotius relates, that when Mr. de Saumaise 
was councillor of the Parliament at Dijon, a 
]>erson who knew not a word of Greek, brought 
him a paper, on which was written some words 
in that language, but not in the character. 
He said that a voice had uttered them to him 
in the night, and that he had written them 
down, imitating the sound as well as he could. 


Mons. cle Saumaise made out that the signifi- 
cation of the words, was; "Begone! do yon. 
not see that death impsnds ? " Without com- 
prehending what danger was predicted, the per- 
son obeyed the mandate and departed. On 
that night the house that he had been lodging 
in, fell to the ground. 

The difficulty in these two cases is equally 
great, apply to it whatever explanation we 
may ; for even if the admonitions proceeded 
from some friendly guardian, as we might be 
inclined to conclude, it is not easy to conceive 
why they should have been communicated in 
a language the persons did not understand. 

After the death of Dante, il was discovered 
that the thirteenth canto of the " Paradise" was 
missing ; great search was made for it, but in 
vain ; and to the regret of everybody concerned, 
it was at length concluded that it had either 
never been written, or had been destroyed. The 
quest was therefore given up, and some months 
had elapsed, when Pietro Allighieri, his son, 
dreamt that his father appeared to him and 
told him that if he removed a certain pannel 
near the window of the room, in which he had 
been accustomed to write, the thirteenth cant< 
would be found. Pietro told his dream and 
was laughed at, of course ; however, as the 
N 5 


canto did not turn up, it was thought as well 
to examine the spot indicated in the dream. 
The pannel was removed, and there lay the 
missing canto behind it ; much mildewed, but 
fortunately, still legible. 

If it be true that the dead do return some-' 
times to solve our perplexities, here was not an 
unworthy occasion for the exercise nf such a 
power. We can imagine the spirit of the 
great poet still clinging to the memory of his 
august work, immortal as himself the record 
of those high thoughts which can never die. 

There are numerous curious accounts extant 
of persons being awakened by the calling of a 
voice which announced some impending 
danger to them. Three boys are sleeping in 
the wing of a castle, and the eldest is awakened 
by what appears to him to be the voice of his 
lather calling him l>y name. He rises and 
hastens to his parent's chamber, situated in 
another part, of the building, where he finds 
his father asleep ; who, on being awakened, 
assures him that he had not called him, and 
the boy returns to bed. But he is scarcely 
asleep, before the circumstance recurs, and he 
again goes to his father with the same result. 
A third time he falls asleep, and a third time 
he is aroused by the voice, too distinctly heard 


for him to doubt his senses ; and now, alarmed 
at he knows not what, he rises and takes his 
brothers with him to his father's chamber ; and 
whilst they are discussing the singularity of 
the circumstance, a crash is heard, and that 
wing of the castle in which the boys slept, falls 
to the ground. This incident excited so much 
attention in Germany that it was recorded in a 

It is related by Amyraldus, that Monsieur 
Calignan, Chancellor of Navarre, dreamed 
three successive times in one night, at Berne, 
that a voice called to him and bade him quit 
the place, as the plague would soon break out 
in that town ; that, in consequence, he removed 
his family, and the result justified his flight. 

A German physician relates, that a patient 
of his told him, that he dreamt repeatedly, one 
night, that a voice bade him go to his hop- 
garden, as there were thieves there. He re^ 
sisted the injunction some time, till, at length, 
he was told that, if he delayed any longer, he 
would lose all his produce. Thus urged, he 
went at last, and arrived just in time to see the 
thieves, loaded with sacks, making away from 
the opposite side of the hop-ground. 

A Madame Von Militz, found herself under 
the necessity of parting with a property which 

140 VVAllNlXGS. 

had long been in her family. When the bar- 
gain was concluded, and she was preparing- to 
remove, she solicited permission of the new 
proprietor to carry away with her some little 
relic as a memento of former days a request 
which he uncivilly denied. On one of the 
nights that preceded her departure from the 
home of her ancestors, she dreamt that a voice 
spoke to her, and bade her go to the cellar and 
open a certain part of the wall, where she 
would find something- that nobody would dis- 
pute with her. Impressed with her dream, she 
sent for a bricklayer, who, after long seeking, 
discovered a place which appeared less solid 
than the rest. A hole was made, and, in a 
niche, was found a goblet, which contained 
something that looked like a pot pourri. On 
shaking out the contents, there lay at the bot- 
tom a small ring, on which was engraven the 
name Anna Von Militz. 

A friend of mine, Mr. Charles Kirkpatrick 
Sharpe, has some coins that were found 
exactly in the same manner. The child of 
a Mr. Christison, in whose house his father 
was lodging, in the year 1781, dreamt that 
there was a treasure hid in the cellar. Her 
lather had no faith in the dream ; but Mr. 


S. had the curiosity to have the place dug up, 
and a copper pot was found, full of coins. 

A very singular circumstance was related to 
me lately, by Mr. J. J., as having occurred 
not long since to himself. A tonic had been 
prescribed to him by his physician, for some 
slight derangement of the system, and, as there 
was no good chemist in the village he in- 
habited, he was in the habit of walking to a 
town about five miles off, to get the bottle filled 
as occasion required. One night, that he had 
been to M. for this purpose, and had obtained 
his last supply, for he was now recovered, and 
about to discontinue the medicine, a voice 
seemed to warn him that some great danger 
was impending, his life was in jeopardy ; then 
he heard, but not with his outward ear, a 
beautiful prayer. " It was not myself that 
prayed,'' he said, " the prayer was far beyond 
anything I am capable of composing it spoke 
of me in the third person, always as lie; and 
supplicated that for the sake of my widowed 
mother this calamity might be averted. My 
father had been dead some months. I was 
sensible of all this, yet I cannot say whether I 
was asleep or awake. When I rose in the 
morning, the whole was present to my mind, 
although I had slept soundly in the interval ; 


I felt, however, as if there was some mitigation 
of the calamity, though what the danger was 
with which I was threatened, I had no notion. 
When I was dressed, I prepared to take my 
medicine, but, on lifting the bottle, I fancied 
that the colour was not the same as usual. I 
looked again, and hesitated, and finally, in- 
stead of taking two table spoonfuls, which was 
my accustomed dose, I took but one. Fortu- 
nate it was that I did so ; the apothecary had 
made a mistake; the drug was poison; I was 
seized with a violent vomiting, and other 
alarming symptoms, from which I with diffi- 
culty recovered. Had I taken the two spoon- 
fuls, I should, probably, not have survived to 
tell the tale." 

The manner in which I happened to obtain 
these particulars is not uninteresting. I was 
spending the evening with Mr. Wordsworth, 
at Ridal, when he mentioned to me that a 
stranger, who had called on him that morning, 
had quoted two lines from his poem of 
" Laodamia," which, he said, to him had a 
peculiar interest. They were these : 

" The invisible world with thee hath sympathised; 
Be thy affections raised and solemnised." 

" I do not know what he alludes to," said Mr. 
Wordsworth ; " but he gave me to understand 


that these lines had a deep meaning for him, 
and that he had himself been the subject of 
such a sympathy." 

Upon this, I sought the stranger, whose 
address the poet gave me, and thus learnt the 
above particulars from himself. His very 
natural persuasion was, that the interceding 
spirit was his father. He described the 
prayer as one of earnest anguish. 

One of the most remarkable instances of 
warning that has come to my knowledge, is 
that of Mr. M., of Kingsborough. This gen- 
tleman, being on a voyage to America, dreamt, 
one night, that a little old man came into his 
cabin and said, " Get up ! Your life is in 
danger !" Upon which, Mr. M. awoke ; but 
considering it to be only a dream, he soon 
composed himself to sleep again. The dream, 
however, if such it were, recurred, and the old 
man urged him still more strongly to get up 
directly 5 but he still persuaded himself it was 
only a dream ; and after listening a few 
minutes, and hearing nothing to alarm him, 
he turned round and addressed himself once 
more to sleep. But now the old man appeared 
again, and angrily bade him rise instantly, and 
take his gun and ammunition with him, 
for he had not a moment to lose. The 


injunction was now so distinct that Mr. M. 
felt he could no longer resist it ; so he hastily 
dressed himself, took his gun, and ascended 
to the deck, where he had scarcely arrived, 
when the ship struck on a rock, which he and 
several others contrived to reach. The place, 
however, was uninhabited, and, but for his 
gun, they would never have been able to pro- 
vide themselves with food till a vessel arrived 
to their relief. 

Now these can scarcely be looked upon as 
instances of clear seeing, or of second sight in 
sleep, which, in Denmark, is ca\\ed.jir$t-seeiny, 
I believe ; for in neither case did the sleeper 
perceive the danger, much less the nature of it. 
If, therefore, we refuse to attribute them to 
some external protecting influence, they re- 
solve themselves into cases of vague presenti- 
ment; but it must then be admitted that the 
mode of the manifestation is very extraoidi- 
nary ; so extraordinary, indeed, that we fall 
into fully as great a difficulty as that offered by 
the supposition of a guardian spirit. 

An American clergyman told me that an old 
woman, with whom he was acquainted, who 
had two sons, heard a voice say to her in the 
night, " John's dead I" This was her eldest 
son. Shortly afterwards, the news of his death 


arriving, she said to the person who commu- 
nicated the intelligence to her, " If John's dead, 
then I know that David is dead, too, for the 
same voice has since told me so ;" and the event 
proved that the information, whenceever it 
came, was correct. 

Not many years since, Captain S. was pass- 
ing a night at the Manse of Strachur, in 
Argyleshire, then occupied by a relation of his 
own ; shortly after he had lain down in bed, 
the curtains were opened, and somebody 
looked in upon him. Supposing it to be some 
inmate of the house, who was not aware that 
the bed was occupied, he took no notice of the 
circumstance, till, it being two or three times 
repeated, he at length said, " What do you 
want? Why do you disturb me in this 

" I come," replied a voice, " to tell you, that 
this day twelvemonth you will be with your 
father !" 

After this, Captain S. was no more dis- 
turbed. In the morning, he related the cir- 
cumstance to his host ; but, being an entire 
disbeliever in all such phenomena, without 
attaching any importance to the warning. 

In the natural course of events, and quite 
irrespective of this visitation, on that day 

VOL. i. o 


twelvemonth he was again at the Manse of 
Strachur, on his way to the North, for which 
purpose it was necessary that he should cross 
the ferry to Craigie. The day was, however, 
so exceedingly stormy, that his friend begged 
him not to go ; but he pleaded his business, 
adding that he was determined not to be 
withheld from his intention by the ghost, and, 
although the minister delayed his departure, 
by engaging him in a game of backgammon, 
he at length started up, declaring he could 
stay no longer. They, therefore, proceeded 
to the water, but they found the boat 
moored to the side of the lake, and the boat- 
man assured them that it would be impossible 
to cross. Captain S., however, insisted, and, 
as the old man was firm in his refusal, he be- 
came somewhat irritated, and laid his cane 
lightly across his shoulders. 

" It ill becomes you, sir," said the ferryman, 
" to strike an old man like me ; but, since you 
will have your way, you must ; I cannot go 
with you, but my son will ; but you will never 
reach the other side ; he will be drowned, and 
you too." 

The boat was then set afloat, and Captain 
S., together with his horse and servant, and 
the ferryman's son, embarked in it. 


The distance was not great, but the storm 
was tremendous ; and, after having with great 
difficulty got half way across the lake, it was 
found impossible to proceed. The danger of 
tacking, was, of course, considerable ; but, 
since they could not advance, there was no 
alternative but to turn back, and it was re- 
solved to attempt it. The manoeuvre, how- 
ever, failed ; the boat capsized, and they were 
all precipitated into the water. 

" You keep hold of the horse, I can swim," 
said Captain S. to his servant, when he saw 
what was about to happen. 

Being an excellent swimmer, and the dis- 
tance from the shore inconsiderable, he hoped 
to save himself, but he had on a heavy top 
coat, with boots and spurs. The coat he con- 
trived to take ofi in the water, and then struck 
out with confidence ; but, alas, the coat had 
got entangled with one of the spurs, and, as 
he swam, it clung to him, getting heavier and 
heavier, as it became saturated with water, 
ever dragging him beneath the stream. He, 
however, reached the shore, where his anxious 
friend still stood watching the event, and, as 
the latter bent over him, he was just able to 
make a gesture with his hand, which seemed 


to say, " You see, it was to be !* and then 

The boatman was also drowned; but, by 
the aid of the horse, the servant escaped. 

As I do not wish to startle my readers nor 
draw too suddenly on their faith, I have com- 
menced with this class of phenomena, which 
it must be admitted are sufficiently strange, 
and, if true, must also be admitted to be well 
worthy of attention. No doubt, these cases, 
and still more those to which I shall next pro- 
ceed, give a painful shock to the received 
notions of polished and educated society in gene- 
ral ; especially in this country, where the ana- 
lytical or scientitical psychology of the eighteenth 
century has almost entirely superseded the 
study of synthetic or philosophical psychology. 
It has become a custom to look at all the phe- 
nomena regarding man in a purely physi- 
ological point of view ; for although it is 
admitted that he has a mind, and although 
there is such a science as metaphysics, the 
existence of what we call mind, is never con- 
sidered but as connected with the body. We 
know that body can exist without mind ; for, 
not to speak of certain living conditions, the 
body subsists without mind when the spirit 


has fled ; albeit, without the living principle it 
can subsist but for a short period, except under 
particular circumstances ; but we seem to have 
forgotten that mind, though very dependant 
upon body as long as the connexion between 
them continues, can yet subsist without it. 
There have, indeed, been philosophers, purely 
materialistic, who have denied this ; but they 
are not many ; and not only the whole 
Christian world, but all who believe in a 
future state, must perforce admit it; for even 
those who hold that most unsatisfactory doc- 
trine, that there will be neither memory nor 
consciousness till a second incorporation takes 
place, will not deny that the mind, however 
in a state of abeyance and unable to manifest 
itself, must still subsist, as an inherent property 
of man's immortal part. Even if, as some 
philosophers believe, the spirit, when freed 
i'rom the body by death, returns to the Deity 
and is re-absorbed in the being of God, not to 
become again a separate entity until re-incor- 
porated, still, what we call mind cannot be 
disunited from it. And when once we have 
begun to conceive of mind, and consequently of 
perception, as separated from and independent 
of bodily organs, it will not be very difficult to 
apprehend that those bodily organs must cir- 
o 5 


cumscribe and limit the view of the spiritual 
in-dweller, which must otherwise be neces- 
sarily perceptive of spirit like itself, though per- 
haps unperceptive of material objects and 

" It is perfectly evident to me," said Socrates, 
in his last moments, " that, to see clearly, we 
must detach ourselves from the body, and per- 
ceive by the soul alone. Not whilst we live, 
but when we die, will that wisdom which we 
desire and love, be first revealed to us ; it must 
be then, or never, that we shall attain to true 
understanding and knowledge; since by means 
of the body we never can. But if, during 
life, we would make the nearest approaches 
possible to its possession, it must be by 
divorcing ourselves as much as in us lies from 
the flesh and its nature." In their spiritual 
views and apprehension of the nature of man, 
how these old heathens shame us 1 

The Scriptures teach us that God chose to 
reveal himself to his people chiefly in dreams, 
and we are entitled to conclude that the reason 
of this was, that the spirit was then more free 
to the reception of spiritual influences and im- 
pressions ; and the class of dreams to which 
I next proceed, seem to be best explained by 
this hypothesis. It is also to be remarked, 
that the awe or fear which pervades a mortal 


at the mere conception of being brought into 
relation with a spirit, has no place in sleep, 
whether natural or magnetic. There is no fear 
then, no surprise ; we seem to meet on an 
equality is it not that we meet spirit to 
spirit ? Is it not that our spirit being then 
released from the trammels the dark chamber 
of the flesh, it does enjoy a temporary equality? 
Is not that true, that some German psycho- 
logist has said, " The magnetic man is a 

There are numerous instances to be met 
with, of persons receiving information in their 
sleep, which either is, or seems to be, com- 
municated by their departed friends. The 
approach of danger, the period of the sleeper's 
death, or of that of some persons beloved, has 
been frequently made known in this form of 

Dr. Binns quotes, from Cardanus, the case of 
Johannes Maria Maurosenus, a Venetian 
senator, who, whilst Governor of Dalmatia, 
saw in a dream one of his brothers, to whom 
he was much attached ; the brother embraced 
him and bade him farewell, because he was 
going into the other world; Maurosenus having 
followed him a long way weeping, awoke in 
tears and expressed much anxiety respecting 


this brother. Shortly afterwards he received 
tidings from Venice, that this Domatus, of 
whom he had dreamt, had died on the night 
and at the hour of the dream, of apestilental 
fever, which had carried him off in three days. 

On the night of the 21st of June, in the year 
1813, a lady residing in the north of England, 
dreamt that her brother, who was then with 
his regiment in Spain, appeared to her saying, 
" Mary, I die this day at Vittoria." 

Vittoria was a town which, previous to the 
famous battle, was not generally known even 
by name, in this country, and this dreamer, 
amongst others, had never heard of it ; but, on 
rising, she eagerly resorted to a Gazetteer for 
the purpose of ascertaining if such a place 
existed. On finding that it was so, she im- 
mediately ordered her horses, and drove to the 
house of a sister, who resided some eight or 
nine miles off, and her first words on entering 
the room were, " Have you heard anything of 
John ?" " No," replied the second sister, " but 
I know he is dead ! He appeared to me last 
night, in a dream, and told me that he was 
killed at Vittoria. I have been looking into 
the Gazetteer and the Atlas, and I find there 
is such a place, and I am sure that he 
is dead !" And so it proved ; the young man 


died that day at Vittoria, and, I believe, on the 
field of battle. If so, it is worthy of obser- 
vation, that the communication was not made 
till the sisters slept. 

A similar case to this, is that of Miss D.,of G., 
who, one night, dreamt that she was walking 
about the washing greens, when a figure ap- 
proached, which she recognized as that of a be- 
loved brother, who was at that time with the 
British army, in America. It gradually faded 
away into a kind of anatomy, holding up its 
hands, through which the light could be per- 
ceived, and asking for clothes to dress a body for 
the grave. The dream recurred more than once 
in the same night, and, apprehending some 
misfortune, Miss I), noted down the date of 
the occurrence. In due course of post, the 
news arrived that this brother had been killed 
at the battle of Bunker's Hill. Miss D., who 
died only within the last few years, though 
unwilling to speak of the circumstance, never 
refused to testify to it as a fact. 

Here, supposing this to be a real apparition, 
we see an instance of that desire for decent 
obsequies so constantly attributed by the 
ancients to the souls of the dead., 

When the German poet, Collin, died at 
Vienna, a person named Hartmann, who was 


his friend, found himself very much distressed 
by the loss of a hundred and twenty florins, 
which he had paid for the poet, under a pro- 
mise of reimbursement. As this sum formed 
a large portion of his whole possessions, the 
circumstance was occasioning him consider- 
able anxiety, when he dreamt, one night, that 
his deceased friend appeared to him, and bade 
him immediately set two florins on No. 1 1, on 
the first calling of the little lottery, or loto, 
then about to be drawn. He was bade to con- 
fine his venture to two florins, neither less nor 
more ; and to communicate this information to 
nobody. Hartmaun availed himself of the 
hint, and obtained a prize of a hundred and 
thirty florins. 

Since we look upon lotteries, in this country, 
as an immoral species of gambling, it may be 
raised as an objection to this dream, that such 
intelligence was an unworthy mission for a 
spirit, supposing the communication to have 
been actually made by Collin. But, in the 
first place, we have only to do with facts, and 
not with their propriety, or impropriety, ac- 
cording to our notions ; and, by and by, I shall 
endeavour to show, that such discrepancies 
possibly arise from the very erroneous notions 
commonly entertained of the state of those 


who have disappeared from the terrestrial 

Simonides, the poet, arriving at the sea- 
shore with the intention of embarking on 
board a vessel on the ensuing day, found an 
imburied body, which he immediately desired 
should be decently interred. On the same 
night, this deceased person appeared to hiji 
and bade him by no means go to sea, as he 
had proposed. Simonides obeyed the in- 
junction, and beheld the vessel founder, as he 
stood on the shore. He raised a monument on 
the spot to the memory of his preserver, which 
is said still to exist, on which are engraven 
some lines to the effect, that it was dedicated by 
Simonides, the poet of Cheos, in gratitude to 
the dead who had preserved him from death. 

A much esteemed secretary died a few years 
since, in the house of Mr. R. von N. About 
eight weeks afterwards, Mr. R. himself being 
ill, his daughter dreamt that the house-bell 
rang ; and that on looking out, she perceived 
the secretary at the door. Having admitted 
him and enquired what he was come for, he 
answered, " to fetch somebody." Upon which, 
alarmed for her father, she exclaimed, "I hope 
not my father." He shook his head so- 
lemnly, in a manner that implied it was not 


the old man he had come for, and turned away 
towards a guest chamber, at that time vacant, 
and there disappeared at the door. The father 
recovered, and the lady left home for a few 
days, on a visit ; on her return, she found her 
brother had arrived in the interval to pay a 
visit to his parents, and was lying sick in that 
room, where he died. 

I will here mention a curious circumstance, 
regarding Mr. H., the gentleman alluded to in 
a former page, who, being at the sea-side, saw, 
in a dream, the danger that awaited his son 
when he went to bathe. This gentleman has 
frequently, on waking, felt a consciousness 
that he had been conversing with certain per- 
sons of his acquaintance and, indeed, with 
some of whom he knew little and has after- 
wards, not without a feeling of awe, learnt 
that these persons had died during the hours 
of his sleep. 

Do not such circumstances entitle us to en- 
tertain the idea that 1 have above suggested, 
namely, that in sleep the spirit is free to see 
and to know, and to communicate with spirit, 
although the memory of this knowledge is 
rarely carried into the waking state. 

The story of the two Arcadians, who tra- 
velled together to Megara, though reprinted 


in other works, I cannot omit here. One of 
these established himself, on the night of their 
arrival, at the house of a friend, whilst the 
<Hher sought shelter in a public lodging-house 
for strangers. During the night, the latter 
appeared to the former, in a dream, and be- 
sought him to come to his assistance, as his 
villainous host was about to take his life, and 
only the most speedy aid could save him. The 
dreamer started from his sleep, and his first 
movement was to obey the summons, but, re- 
flecting that it was only a dream, he presently 
lay down, and composed himself again to rest. 
But now his friend appeared before him a 
second time, disfigured by blood and wounds, 
conjuring him, since he had not listened to 
his first entreaties, that he would, at least, 
avenge his death. His host, he said, had mur- 
dered him, and was, at that moment, deposit- 
ing his body in a dung-cart, for the purpose 
of conveying it out of the town. The dreamer 
was thoroughly alarmed, arose, and hastened 
to the gates of the city, where he found, wait- 
ing to pass out, exactly such a vehicle as his 
friend had described. A search being insti- 
tuted, the body was found underneath the ma- 
nure; and the host was, consequently, seized, and 
VOL. i. p 


delivered over to the chastisement of the 

"Who shall venture to assert," says Dr. 
Ennemoser, ''that this communing with the 
deadin sleep is merely a subjective phenomenon, 
and that the presence of these apparitions is a 
pure illusion ?" 

A circumstance fully as remarkable as any 
recorded, occurred at Odessa, in the year 1842. 
An old blind man, named Michel, had for many 
years, been accustomed to get his living by 
seating himself every morning, on a beam, in 
one of the timber yards, with a wooden bowl 
at his feet, into which the passengers cast 
their alms. This long continued practice had 
made him well known to the inhabitants, and 
as he was believed to have been formerly a 
soldier, his blindness was attributed to the 
numerous wounds he had received in battle. 
For his own part, he spoke little, and never 
contradicted this opinion. 

One night, Michel, by some accident, fell in 
with a little girl, of ten years old, named 
Powleska, who was friendless, and on the verge 
of perishing with cold and hunger. The old 
man took her home, and adopted her; and, 
from that time, instead of sitting in the tim- 
ber yards, he went about the streets in her 


company, asking alms at the doors of the 
houses. The child called \i\mfat her, and they 
were extremely happy together. But when 
they had pursued this mode of life for about 
five years, a misfortune befell them. A theft 
having been committed in a house which they 
had visited in the morning, Powleska was sus- 
pected and arrested, and the blind man was 
left once more alone. But, instead of resuming 
his former habits, he now disappeared alto- 
gether, and this circumstance causing the sus- 
picion to extend to him, the girl was brought 
before the magistrate to be interrogated with 
regard to his probable place of concealment. 

" Do you know where Michel is ?" enquired 
the magistrate. 

" He is dead !" replied she, shedding a torrent 
of tears. 

As the girl had been shut up for three days, 
without any means of obtaining informa- 
tion from without, this answer, together with 
her unfeigned distress, naturally excited con- 
siderable surprise. 

"Who told you he was dead?" they en- 

" Nobody !" 

" Then how can you know it ?" 


" I saw him killed !" 

" But you have not been out of the prison ?" 

" But I saw it, nevertheless !" 

** But how was that possible ? Explain 
what you mean !" 

" I cannot. All I can say is, that I saw 
him killed." 

" When was he killed, and how ?" 

"It was the night I was arrested." 

" That cannot be ; he was alive when you 
were seized 1" 

" Yes, he was ; he was killed an hour after 
that. They stabbed him with a knife." 

" Where were you then ?'"" 

" I can't tell ; but I saw it." 

The confidence with which the girl asserted 
what seemed to her hearers impossible and 
absurd, disposed them to imagine that she was 
either really insane, or pretending to be so ; 
so leaving Michel aside, they proceeded to in- 
terrogate her about the robbery, asking her if 
she was guilty. 

" Oh, no !" she answered. 

" Then how came the property to be found 
about you ?"" 

" I don't know : I saw nothing but the 


"But there are no grounds for supposing 
Michel is dead; his body has not been 

" It is in the aqueduct." 

" And do you know who slew him ?'* 

" Yes ; it is a woman. Michel was Walk- 
ing very slowly, after I was taken from him. 
A woman came behind him with a large 
kitchen-knife ; but he heard her, and turned 
round j and then the woman flung a piece of 
grey stuff over his head, and struck him re- 
peatedly with the knife, the grey stuff was 
much stained with the blood. Michel fell at 
the eighth blow, and the woman dragged the 
body to the aqueduct and let it fall in without 
ever lifting the stuff which stuck to his face." 

As it was easy to verify these latter asser- 
tions, they dispatched people to the spot j and 
there the body was found with the piece of 
stuff over his head, exactly as she had de- 
scribed. But when they asked her how she 
knew all this, she could only answer " I don't 

" But you know who killed him ?" 

" Not exactly : it is the same woman that 
put out his eyes ; but, perhaps, he will tell me 
her name to-night j and if he does, I will tell 
it to you." 

P 5 


" Who do you mean by he ?" 

" Why, Michel, to be sure !" 

During the whole of the following night, 
without allowing her to suspect their intention, 
they watched her ; and it was observed that 
she never lay down, but sat upon the bed in a 
sort of lethargic slumber. Her body was quite 
motionless, except at intervals, when this re- 
pose was interrupted by violent nervous shocks, 
which pervaded her whole frame. On the en- 
suing day, the moment she was brought before 
the judge, she declared that she was now 
able to tell them the name of the assassin. 

" But stay, said the magistrate ; " did 
Michel never tell you, when he was alive, how 
he lost his sight ?" 

" No ; but the morning before I was arrested, 
he promised me to do so ; and that was the 
cause of his death." 

" How could that be ?" 

" Last night Michel came to me, and he 
pointed to the man hidden behind the scaffold- 
ing on which he and I had been sitting. He 
showed me the roan listening to us, when he 
said, ' I'll tell you all about that to-night ;' and 
then the man " 

" Do you know the name of this man ?" 

" It is Luck; he went afterwards to a broad 

WARNING^. 163 

street that leads down to the harbour, and he 
entered the third house on the right " 

" What is the name of the street ?" 

" I don't know : but the house is one story 
lower than the adjoining ones. Luck told 
Catherine what he had heard, and she pro- 
posed to him to assassinate Michel ; but he 
refused, saying, ' it was bad enough to have 
burnt out his eyes fifteen years before, whilst 
he was asleep at your door, and to have kid- 
napped him into the country.' Then I went 
in to ask charity, and Catherine put a piece of 
plate into my pocket, that I might be arrested : 
then she hid herself behind the aqueduct to 
wait for Michel, and she killed him." 

" But, since you say all this, why did you 
keep the plate? why didn't you give infor- 
mation ?" 

" But I didn't see it then. Michel showed 
it me last night." 

" But what should induce Catherine to do 
this ?" 

" Michel was her husband, and she had for- 
saken him to come to Odessa and marry again. 
One night, fifteen years ago, she saw Michel, 
who hud come to seek her. She slipped hastily 
into her house, and Michel, who thought she 
had not seen him, lay down at her door to 


watch ; but he fell asleep, and then Luck 
burnt out his eyes, and carried him to a dis- 

" And is it Michel who has told you this ?" 

" Yes : he came, very pale and covered with 
blood ; and he took me by the hand and 
showed me all this with his fingers." 

Upon this, Luck and Catherine were 
arrested; and it was ascertained that she had 
actually been married to Michel in the year 
1819, at Kherson. They at first denied the 
accusation, but Powleska insisted, and they 
subsequently confessed the crime. When they 
communicated the circumstances of the con- 
fession to Powleska, she said, " I was told it 
last night." 

This affair naturally excited great interest, 
and people all round the neighbourhood has- 
tened into the city to learn the sentence. 



AMONGST the phenomena of the dream- life 
which we have to consider, that of double- 
dreaming- forms a very curious department. 
A somewhat natural introduction to this sub- 
ject may be found in the cases above recorded 
of Professor Herder and Mr. S. of Edinburgh, 
who appear in their sleep to have received so 
lively an impression of those earnest wishes 
of their dying friends to see them, that they 
found themselves irresistably impelled to obey 
the spiritual summons. These two cases oc- 
curred to men engaged in active daily life, and 


in normal physical conditions, on which account 
I particularly refer to them here, although 
many similar ones might be adduced. 

With respect to this subject of double- 
dreaming, Dr. Ennemoser thinks that it is not 
so difficult to explain as might appear on a 
first view, since he considers that there exists 
an indisputable sympathy betwixt certain 
organisms, especially where connected by re- 
lationship, or by affection, which may be 
sufficient to account for the supervention of 
simultaneous thoughts, dreams, or presenti- 
ments ; and I have met with some cases where 
the magnetiser and his patient have been the 
subjects of this phenomenon. With respect to 
the power asserted to have been frequently 
exercised by causing or suggesting dreams by 
an operator at a distance from the sleeper, 
Dr. E. considers the two parties to stand in a 
positive and negative relation to each other ; 
the antagonistic power of the sleeper being 
= 0, he becomes a perfectly passive recipient 
of the influence exerted by his positive 
half, if I may use the expression ; for, where 
such a polarity is established, the two beings 
seem to be almost blended into one ; whilst 
Dr. Passavent observes, that we cannot pro- 
nounce what may be the limits of the nervous 


force, which certainly is not bounded by the 
termination of its material conductors. 

I have yet myself met with no instance of 
dream compelling by a person at a distance ; 
but Dr. Ennemoser, says, that Agrippa von 
Nettesheim asserts that this can assuredly be 
done, and also that the Abbot Trithemius, and 
others, possessed the power. In modern times, 
Wesermaun, in Dusseldorf, pretended to the 
same faculty, and affirms that he had frequently 
exercised it. 

All such phenomena, Dr. Passavent attri- 
butes to the interaction of imponderables or 
of one universal imponderable under different 
manifestations which acts not only within the 
organism, but beyond it, independently of all 
material obstacles ; just as a sympathy appears 
betwixt one organ and another, unobstructed 
by the intervening ones ; and he instances the 
sympathy which exists betwixt the mother 
and the foetus, as an example of this sort of 
double life, and standing as midway betwixt 
the sympathy between two organs in the 
same body and that between two separate 
bodies ; each having its own life, and its life 
also in and for another, as parts of one whole. 
The sympathy betwixt a bird and the eggs it 
sits upon is of the same kind ; many instances 


having been observed, wherein eggs taken 
from one bird and placed under another, have 
produced a brood feathered like the foster, in- 
stead of the real parent. 

Thus, this vital force may extend dynami- 
cally the circle of its influence, till, under 
favourable circumstances, it may act on other 
organisms making their organs its own. 

I need scarcely remind my leaders of the 
extraordinary sympathies manifested by the 
Siamese twins Chang and Eug. I never saw 
them myself; and, for the benefit of others in 
the same situation, I quote the following par- 
ticulars from Dr. Passavent : " They were 
united by a membrane which extended from 
the breast-bone to the navel ; but, in other re- 
spects, were not different from their country- 
men in general. They were exceedingly alike, 
only that Eng was rather the most robust of 
the two. Their pulsations were not always co- 
incident. They were active and agile, and fond 
of bodily exercises ; their intellects were well- 
developed, and their tones of voice and accent 
were precisely the same. As they never con- 
versed together, they had nearly forgotten their 
native tongue. If one was addressed, they 
both answered. They played some games of 
skill, but never with each other ; as that, they 


said, would have been like the right hand 
playing- with the left. They read the same 
book at the same time, and sang together in 
unison. In America they had a fever, which 
ran precisely a similar course with each. Their 
hunger, thirst, sleeping and waking, were al- 
ways coincident ; and their tastes and incli- 
nations were identical. Their movements 
were so simultaneous that it was impossible to 
distinguish with which the impulse had ori- 
ginated; they appeared to have but one will. 
The idea of being separated by an operation 
was abhorrent to them; and they consider 
themselves much happier in their duality than 
are the individuals who look upon them with 

This admirable sympathy, although neces- 
sarily in an inferior degree, is generally mani- 
fested, more or less, betwixt all persons twin 
born. Dr. Passavent, and other authorities, 
mention several instances of this kind, in 
which, although at some distance from each 
other, the same malady appeared simulta- 
neously in both, and ran precisely a similar 
course. A very affecting instance of this sort 
of sympathy was exhibited, not very long ago, 
by a young lady, twin-born, who was suddenly 
seized with an unaccountable horror, followed 

VOL. i. Q 


by a strange convulsion, which the doctor, who 
was hastily called in, said, exactly resembled 
the struggles and sufferings of a person drown- 
ing. In process of time, the news arrived >- 
that her twin brother, then abroad, had been 
drowned precisely at that period. 

It is, probably, a link of the same kind, that 
i.s established betwixt the magnetiser and his 
patient, of which, besides those recorded in 
various works on the subject, some curious 
instances have come to my knowledge, such 
as uncontrollable impulses to go to sleep, or 
to perform certain actions, in subserviance to 
the will of the distant operator. Mr. W. W., 
a 'gentleman well known in the north of 
England, related to me, that he had been 
cured, by magnetism, of a very distressing 
malady, During part of the process of cure, 
after the rapport had been well established, 
the operations were carried on whilst he was 
atMalvern, and his magnetiser at Cheltenham, 
under which circumstances the existence of 
this extraordinary dependence was frequently 
rxhibited in a manner that left no possibility 
of doubt. On one occasion, I remember, that 
Mr. W. W. being in the magnetic sleep, he 
suddenly started from his seat, clasping his 
hands as if startled, and, presently afterwards, 


burst into a violent fit of laughter. As, on 
waking 1 , he could give no account of these im- 
pulses, his family wrote to the magnetiser to 
enquire if he had sought to excite any par- 
ticular manifestations in his patient, as the 
sleep had been somewhat disturbed. The 
answer was, that no such intention had been 
entertained, but that the disturbance might 
possibly have arisen from one to which he had 
himself been subjected. " Whilst my mind 
was concentrated on you," said he, " I was 
suddenly so much startled by a violent knock 
at the door, that I actually jumped off my seat, 
clasping my hands with affright. I had a 
hearty laugh at my own folly, but am sorry if 
you were made uncomfortable by it." 

I have met with some accounts of a sym- 
pathy of this kind existing betwixt young 
children and their parents, so that the fornler 
have exhibited great distress and terror at the 
moment that death or danger have supervened 
to the latter ; but it would require a great 
number of instances to establish this par- 
ticular fact, and separate it from cases of acci- 
dental coincidence. Dr. Passavent, however^ 
admits the phenomena. 

I shall return to these mysterious influences 
by and by ; but to revert, in the meanwhile, 


to the subject of double dreams, I will relate 
one that occurred to two ladies, a mother and 
daughter, the latter of whom related it to me. 
They were sleeping in the same bed at Chel- 
tenham, when the mother, Mrs. C., dreamt 
that her brother-in-law, then in Ireland, had 
sent for her ; that she entered his room, and 
saw him in bed, apparently dying. He re- 
quested her to kiss him, but, owing to his 
livid appearance, she shrank from doing so, 
and awoke with the horror of the scene upon 
her. The daughter awoke at the same mo- 
ment, saying, " Oh, I have had such a frightful 
dream P' " Oh, so have I P returned the 
mother ; " I have been dreaming of my bro- 
ther-in-law !" " My dream was about him, 
too," added Miss C. " I thought I was sitting 
in the, and that he came in 
wearing a shroud, trimmed with black rib- 
bons, and, approaching me, he said, ( My dear 
niece, your mother has refused to kiss me, but 
1 am sure you will not be so unkind ! ' " 

As these ladies were not in habits of regular 
correspondence with their relative, they knew 
that the earliest intelligence likely to reach 
them, if he were actually dead, would be by 
means of the Irish papers ; and they waited 
anxiously for the following Wednesday, which 


was the day these journals were received in 
Cheltenham. When that morning arrived, 
Miss C. hastened at an early hour to the read- 
ing-room, and there she learnt what the dreams 
had led them to expect : their friend was 
dead ; and they afterwards ascertained that his 
decease had taken place on that night. They 
moreover observed, that neither one or the 
other of them had been speaking or thinking 
of this gentleman for some time previous to 
the occurrence of the dreams ; nor had they 
any reason whatever for uneasiness with regard 
to him. It is a remarkable peculiarity in this 
case, that the dream of the daughter appears 
to be a continuation of that of the mother. In 
the one, he is seen alive ; in the other, the 
shroud and black ribbons seem to indicate that 
he is dead; and he complains of the refusal to 
'give him a farewell kiss. 

One is almost inevitably led here to the con- 
clusion that the thoughts and wishes' of the 
dying man wore influencing the sleepers ; or, 
that the released spirit was hovering near them. 

Pomponius Mela relates, that a certain 
people in the interior of Africa lay themselves 
down to sleep on the graves of their fore - 
fathers, and believe the dreams that ensue U> 
be the unerring counsel of the dead. 
Q 5 


The following dream, from St. Austin, is 
quoted by Dr. Binns : " Praestantius desired, 
from n certain philosopher, the solution of a 
doubt, which the latter refused to give him; but 
in the following night, the philosopher appeared 
at his bed-side and told him what he desired to 
know. On being asked, the next day, why he 
had chosen that hour for his visit, he answered, 
' I came not to you truly, but in my dream I 
appeared to you to do so/ In this case, how- 
ever, only one of the parties seems to have been 
asleep ; for Praestautius says that he was 
awake ; and it is, perhaps, rather an example 
of another kind of phenomena, similar to the 
instance recorded of himself by the late Joseph 
Wilkins, a dissenting minister ; who says, that 
being one night asleep, he dreamed that he 
was travelling to London, and that as it would 
not be much out of his way, he would go by 
Gloucestershire and call upon his friends. 
Accordingly he arrived at his father's house, 
but finding the front door closed, he went 
round to the back, and there entered. The 
family, however, being already in bed, he 
ascended the stairs, and entered his father's 
bedchamber. Him he found asleep ; but to 
his mother, who was awake, he said, as he 
walked round to her side of the bed, ' Mother, 


I am going a long journey, and am come to bid 
you good bye ;' to which she answered. ' Oh, 
dear son, thee art dead ! ' Though struck with 
the distinctness of the dream, Mr. Wilkins 
attached no importance to it, till, to his surprise, 
a letter arrived from his father, addressed to 
himself, if alive ; or, if not, to his surviving 
friends, begging earnestly for immediate in- 
telligence ; since they were under great appre- 
hensions that their son was either dead or in 
danger of death ; for that on such a night 
(naming that on which the above dream had 
occurred), he, the father being asleep and Mrs- 
W. awake, she had distinctly heard somebody 
try to open the fore door, which being fast, the 
person had gone round to the back and there 
entered. She had perfectly recognised the 
footstep to be that of her son, who had ascended 
the stairs, and entering the bedchamber had 
said to her, ' Mother, I am going a long jour- 
ney, and am come to bid you good bye;' 
whereupon, she had answered, 'Oh, dear son, 
thee art dead!' Much alarmed, she had 
awakened her husband and related what had 
occurred, assuring him that it was not a dream, 
for that she had not been asleep at all. Mr. "W. 
mentions that this curious circumstance took 
place iu the year 1 754, when he was living at 


Ottery ; and that he had frequently discussed 
the subject with his mother, on whom the im- 
pression made was even stronger than on him- 
self. Neither death, nor anything else re- 
markable ensued." 

A somewhat similar instance to this, which I 
also quote from Dr. Binns, is that of a gentle- 
man who dreamt that he was pushing violently 
against the door of a certain room in a house 
with which he was well acquainted, whilst the 
people in that room were, at the same time, 
actually alarmed by a violent pushing against 
the door, which it required their utmost force 
effectually to resist. As soon as the attempt 
to burst open the door had ceased, the house 
was searched ; but nothing discovered to 
account for the disturbance. 

These examples are extremely curious ; and 
they conduct us by a natural transition to 
another department of this mysterious subject. 

There must be few persons who have not 
heard amongst their friends and acquaintance 
instances of what is called a Wraith that is, 
that in the moment of death, a person is seen 
in a place where bodily he is not. I believe th<* 
Scotch use this term also in the same sense as 
the Irish word Fetch; which is a person's 
double seen at some indefinite period previous 


to his death, of which such an appearance is 
generally supposed to be a prognostic. The 
Germans express the same thing by the word 
Doppel ganger. 

With respect to the appearance of wraiths, 
at the moment of death, the instances to be 
met with are so numerous and well authenti- 
cated, that I generally find the most sceptical 
people unable to deny that some such pheno- 
menon exists, although they evade, without, I 
think, diminishing the difficulty, by pro- 
nouncing it to be of a subjective, and not of an 
objective, nature ; that is, that the image of the 
dying person is, by some unknown operation, 
presented to the imagination of the seer, 
without the existence of any real outstanding 
figure, from which it is reflected ; which re- 
duces such instances so nearly to the class of 
mere sensuous illusion, that it seems difficult 
to draw the distinction. The distinction these 
theorists wish to imply, however, is, that the 
latter are purely subjective and self-originating, 
whilst the others have an external cause, 
although not an external visible object the 
image seen being protruded by the imagina- 
tion of the seer, in consequence of an un- 
conscious intuition of the death of the person 
whose wraith is perceived. 


Instances of this kind of phenomenon have 
been common in all ages of the world, insomuch 
that Lucretius, who did not believe in the 
immortality of the soul, and was yet unable to 
deny the facts, suggested the strange theory 
that the superficial surfaces of all bodies were 
continually flying off, like the coats of an onion, 
which accounted for the appearance of wraiths, 
ghosts, doubles, &c. ; and a more modern 
author, Gaffarillus, suggests that corrupting 
bodies send forth vapours, which, being com- 
p reused by the cold night air, appear visible to 
the eye in the forms of men. 

It will not be out of place, here, to mention 
the circumstance recorded in Professor Gre- 
gory's Abstract of Baron Von Reichenbach's 
Researches in Magnetism, regarding a person 
called Billing, who acted in the capacity of 
amanuensis to the blind poet Pieffel, at Col- 
mar. Having treated of various experiments, 
by which it was ascertained that certain sensi- 
tive persons were not only able to detect 
electric influences of which others were un- 
conscious, but could also perceive, emanating 
from the wires and magnets, flames which were 
invisible to people in general ; " the Baron," ac- 
cording to Dr. Gregory, " proceeded to a useful 
application of the results, which is, says he, 

WRAITHS. 1 79 

so much the more welcome, as it utterly eradi- 
cates one of the chief foundations of super- 
stition, that worst enemy to the development 
of human enlightenment and liberty. A 
singular occurrence, which took place at Col 
mar, in the garden of the poet Pfeffel, has been 
made generally known by various writings. 
The following are the essential facts. The 
poet, being blind, had employed a young cler- 
gyman, of the evangelical church, as amanuen- 
sis. Pfeffel, when he walked out, was sup- 
ported and led by this young man, whose 
name was Billing. As they walked in the 
garden, at some distance from the town, Pfeffel 
observed, that, as often as they passed over a 
particular spot, the arm of Billing trembled, and 
he betrayed uneasiness. On being questioned, 
the young man reluctantly confessed that, as 
often as he passed over that spot, certain feel- 
ings attacked him, which he could not con- 
troul, and which he knew well, as he always 
experinced the same, in passing over any place 
where human bodies lay buried. He added, 
that, at night, when he came near such 
places, he saw supernatural appearances. 
Pfeffel, with the view of curing the youth of 
what he looked on as a fancy, went that night 
with him to the garden. As they approached 


the spot in the dark, Billing perceived a feeble 
light, and when still nearer, he saw a luminous 
ghost-like figure floating over the spot. This 
he described as a female form, with one arm 
laid across the body, the other hanging down, 
floating in the upright posture, but tranquil, 
the feet only a hand-breadth or two above the 
soil. Pfeffel went alone, as the young man 
declined to follow him, up to the place where 
the figure was said to be, and struck about in 
all directions with his stick, besides running 
actually through the shadow ; but the figure 
was not more affected than a flame would have 
been : the luminovs form, according to Billing, 
always returned to its original position after 
these experiments. Many things were tried 
during several months, and numerous com- 
panies of people were brought to the spot, but 
the matter remained the s>ame, and the ghost 
seer adhered to his serious assertion, and to the 
opinion founded on it, that some individual lay 
buried there. At last, Pfeffel had the place 
dug up. At a considerable depth was found a 
firm layer of white lime, of the length and 
breadth of a grave, and of considerable thick- 
ness, and when this had been broken into, there 
were found the bones of a human being. It 
was evident that some one had been buried in 


the place, and covered with a thick layer of 
lime (quicklime), as is generally done in times 
of pestilence, of earthquakes, and other simi- 
lar events. The bones were removed, the pit 
filled up, the lime mixed and scattered abroad, 
and the surface again made smooth. When 
Billing was now brought back to the place, the 
phenomena did not return, and the nocturnal 
spirit had for ever disappeared. 

" It is hardly necessary to point out to the 
reader what view the author takes of this 
story, which excited much attention in Ger- 
many, because it came from the most truthful 
man alive, and theologians and psychologists 
gave to it sundry terrific meanings. It ob- 
viously falls into the province of chemical 
action, and thus meets with a simple and clear 
explanation from natural and physical causes. 
A corpse is a field for abundant chemical 
changes, decompositions, fermentation, putre- 
faction, gasification, and general play of affi- 
nities. A stratum of quicklime, in a narrow 
pit, unites its powerful affinities to those of 
the organic matters, and gives rise to a long 
'continued working of the whole. Rain-water 
filters through and contributes to the action : 
the lime on the outside of the mass first falls 
to a fine powder, and afterwards, with more 

VOL. i. K 


water, forms lumps which are very slowly 
penetrated by the air. Slaked lime prepared 
for building 1 , but not used, on account of some 
cause connected with a warlike state of society 
some centuries since, has been found in sub- 
terraneous holes or pits, in the ruins of old 
castles ; and the mass, except on the outside, 
was so unaltered, that it has been used for 
modern buildings. It is evident, therefore, 
that in such circumstances there must be a 
very slow and long continued chemical action, 
partly owing to the slow penetration of the 
mass of lime by the external carbonic acid, 
partly to the changes going on in the remains 
of animal matter, at all events as long as any 
is left. In the above case, this must have gone 
on in Pfeffel's garden, and, as we know that 
chemical action is invariably associated with 
light, visible to the sensitive, this must have 
been the origin of the luminous appearance, 
which again must have continued until the 
mutual affinities of the organic remains, the 
lime, the air, and water, had finally come to a 
state of chemical rest or equilibrium. As 
soon, therefore, as a sensitive person, although 
otherwise quite healthy, came that way, and 
entered within the sphere of the force in 
action, he must feel, by day, like Mdlle. Maix, 
the sensations so often described, and see by 


night, like Mdlle. Reichel, the luminous ap- 
pearance. Ignorance, fear, and superstition, 
would now dress up the feebly shining va- 
pourous light into a human form, and furnish 
it with human limbs and members ; just as 
we can at pleasure fancy every cloud in the 
sky to represent a man or a demon. 

" The wish to strike a fatal blow at the 
monster superstition, which, at no distant 
period, poured out on European society from a 
similar source, such inexpressible misery, 
when, in trials for witchcraft, not hundreds, 
not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of 
innocent human beings perished miserably, 
either on the scaffold, at the stake, or by the 
effects of torture, this desire induced the 
author to try the experiment of bringing, if 
possible, a highly sensitive patient, by night, 
to a churchyard. It appeared possible that 
such a person might see, over graves, in which 
mouldering bodies lie, something similar to 
that which Billing had seen. Mdlle. Reichel 
had the courage, rare in her sex, to gratify this 
wish of the author. On two very dark nights 
she allowed herself to be taken from the castle 
of Reisenberg, where she was living, with the 
author's family, to the neighbouring church- 
yard of Grunzing. The result justified his 
anticipation in the most beautiful manner. 


She very soon saw a light, and observed 
on one of the graves, along its length, a 
delicate, breathing flame : she also saw the 
same thing, only weaker, on a second 
grave. But she .saw neither witches nor 
ghosts ; she described the fiery appearance as 
a shining vapour, one to two spans high, ex- 
tending as far as the grave, and floating near 
its surface. Some time afterwards she was 
taken to two large cemeteries near Vienna, 
where several burials occur daily, and graves 
lie about by thousands. Here she saw nume- 
rous graves provided with similar lights. 
Wherever she looked, she saw luminous 
masses scattered about. But this appearance 
was most vivid over the newest graves, while 
in the oldest it could not be perceived. She 
described the appearance less as a clar flame, 
than as a dense vaporous mass of fire, inter- 
mediate between fog and flame. On many 
graves the flame was four feet high, so that 
when she stood on them, it surrounded her up 
to the neck. If she thrust her hand into it, 
it was like putting it into a dense fiery cloud. 
She betrayed no uneasiness, because she had 
all her life been accustomed to such emana- 
tions, and had seen the same, in the author's 
experiments, often produced by natural causes. 
Many ghost stories will now find their natural 


explanation. We can also see, that it was not 
altogether erroneous, when old women declared 
that all had not the gilt to see the departed 
wandering about their graves ; for it must 
have always been the sensitive alone who were 
able to perceive the light given out by the 
chemical action going on in the corpse. The 
author has thus, he hopes, succeeded in tear- 
ing down one of the most impenetrable 
barriers erected by dark ignorance and super- 
stitious folly, against the progress of natural 

" [The reader will at once apply the above 
most remarkable experiments to the explana- 
tion of corpse-lights in church-yards, which 
were often visible to the gifted alone, to those 
who had the second sight, for example. Many 
nervous or hysterical females must often have 
been alarmed by white, faintly luminous ob- 
jects, in dark churchyards, to which objects 
fear has given a defined form. In this, as 
well as in numerous other points, which will 
force themselves on the attention of the careful 
reader of both works, Baron Reichenbach's 
experiments illustrate the experiences of the 
Seeress of Prevorst. W. G.]" * 

* This very curious work I have translated from the 
German. Published by Moore, London. C. C. 

R 5 


That the flames here described may have 
originated in chemical action, is an opinion I 
have no intention of disputing; the fact may 
possibly be so ; such a phenomenon has fre- 
quently been observed hovering over coffins 
and decomposing flesh ; but I confess I cannot 
perceive the slightest grounds for the assertion 
that it was the ignorance, fear, and superstition 
of Billing, who was an Evangelical clergy- 
man, that caused him to dress up this vaporous 
light in a human form and supply it with 
members, &c. In the first place, I see no 
proof adduced that Billing was either ignorant 
or superstitious, nor even afraid ; the feelings 
he complained of, appearing to be rather phy- 
sical than moral ; and it must be a weak per- 
son indeed, who, in company with another, 
could be excited to such a freak of the imagi- 
nation. It is easily comprehensible, that that 
which appeared only a luminous vapour by 
day, might when reflected on a darker atmo - 
sphere, present a defined form ; and the sug- 
gestion of this possibility might lead to some 
curious speculations, with regard to a mystery 
called the palinganesia, said to have been prac- 
tised by some of the chemists and alchemists 
of the sixteenth century. 

Gafl'arillus, in his book, entitled " Curiositim 



Inouies" published in 1650, when speaking on 
the subject of talismans, signatures, &c., ob- 
serves, that since in many instances the plants 
used for these purposes were reduced to ashes, 
and no longer retained their form, their efficacy 
which depended on their figure should in- 
evitably be destroyed ; but this, he says, is not 
the case, since, by an admirable potency exist- 
ing in nature, the form, though invisible, is 
still retained in the ashes. This, he observes, 
may appear strange to those who have never 
attended to the subject ; but he asserts that an 
account of the experiment will be found in the 
works of Mr. Du Chesne. one of the best 
chemists of the period, who had been shown, 
by a Polish physician, at Cracow, certain phials 
containing ashes, which, when duly heated, ex- 
hibited the forms of various plants. A small 
obscure cloud was first observed, which gradu- 
ally took on a defined form, and presented to 
the eye a rose, or whatever plant or flower the 
ashes consisted of. Mr. Du Chesne, however, 
had never been able to repeat the experiment, 
though he had made several unsuccessful 
attempts to do so ; but at length he succeeded, 
by accident, in the following manner: Having 
for some purpose extracted the salts from some 
burnt nettles, and having left the lie outside 


the house, all night, to cool, in the morning he 
found it frozen ; and, to his surprise, the form 
and figure of the nettles were so exactly re- 
presented on the ice, that the living plant 
could not be more perfect. Delighted at this 
discovery, he summoned Mr. De Luynes, par- 
liamentary councillor, to behold this curiosity ; 
from whence, he says, they both concluded, 
that when a body dies, its form or figure still 
resides in its ashes. 

Kircher, Vallemont, Digby, and others, are 
said to have practised this art of resuscitating 
the forms of plants from their ashes ; and at 
the meeting of naturalists at Stuttgard, in 
1834, a Swiss savant seems to have revived 
the subject, and given a receipt for the ex- 
periment extracted from a work by Oetinger, 
called " Thoughts on the Birth and Genera- 
tion of Things." " The earthly husk," says 
Oetinger, " remains in the retort, whilst the 
volatile essence ascends, like a spirit, perfect 
in form, but void of substance." 

But Oetinger also records another discovery 
of this description, which, he says, he fell upon 
unawares. A woman having brought him a 
large bunch of balm, he laid it under the tiles, 
which were yet warm with the summer's heat, 
where it dried in the shade. But, it being in 


the month of September, the cold soon came, 
and contracted the leaves, without expelling- 
the volatile salts. They lay there till the 
following June, when he chopped up the 
balm, put it into a glass retort, poured rain 
water upon it, and placed a receiver above. 
He afterwards heated it till the water boiled, 
and then increased the heat ; whereupon there 
appeared, on the water, a coat of yellow oil, 
about the thickness of the back of a knife, 
and this oil shaped itself into the forms of 
innumerable balm leaves, which did not run 
one into another, but remained perfectly dis- 
tinct and defined, and exhibited all the marks 
that are seen in the leaves of the plant. Oe- 
tinger says he kept the fluid some time, and 
showed it to a number of people. At length, 
wishing to throw it away, he shook it, and the 
leaves ran into one another with the disturb- 
ance of the oil, but resumed their distinct 
shape again, as soon as it was at rest, the fluid 
form retaining the perfect signature. 

Now, how far these experiments are really 
practicable, I connot say, their not being re- 
peated, or not being repeated successfully, is 
no very decided argument against their possi- 
bility, as all persons acquainted with the 
annals of chemistry well know ; but there is, 


certainly, a curious coincidence betwixt these 
details, and the experience of Billing ; where 
it is to be observed, that, according- to his 
account and what right have we to dispute it 
the figure after being disturbed by Pfeffel, 
always resumed its original form. The same 
peculiarity has been observed with respect to 
some apparitions, where the spectator has been 
bold enough to try the experiment. In a letter 
to Dr. Bentley, from the Rev. Thos. Wilkins, 
curate of Warblington, in Hampshire, written 
in the year 1G95, wherein he gives an account 
of an apparition which haunted the parsonage 
house, and which he himself, and several 
other persons, had seen ; he particularly men- 
tions that, thinking it might be some fellow 
hid in the room, he put his arm out to feel it, 
and his hand seemingly went through the 
body of it, and felt no manner of substance, 
until it reached the wall, " then I drew back 
iny hand, but still the apparition was in the 
same place." 

Yet this spectre did not appear above, or 
near a grave, but moved from place to place, 
and gave considerable annoyance to the 
inhabitants of the rectory. 

With respect to the lights over the graves, 
sufficing to account for the persuasion re- 


garding what is called corpse candles, they 
certainly, up to a certain point, afford a very 
satisfactory explanation, but that explanation 
does not comprehend the whole of the mystery, 
for most of those persons who have professed 
to see corpse candles, have also asserted that 
they were not always stationery over the 
graves, but sometimes moved from place to 
place, as in the following instance, which was 
related to me by a gentleman who assured me 
he received the account from the person who 
witnessed the phenomenon. Now, this last 
fact, I mean the locomotion of the lights, will, 
of course, be disputed ; but so was their ex- 
istence ; yet they exist, for all that, and may 
travel from place to place, for anything we 
know to the contrary. 

The story related to me, or a similar in- 
stance, is, I think, mentioned by Mrs. Grant ; 
but it was to the effect that a minister, newly 
inducted in his cure, was standing one evening 
leaning over the wall of the church-yard 
which adjoined the manse, when he ob- 
served a light hovering over a particular 
spot. Supposing it to be somebody with 
a lanthorn, he opened the wicket, and went 
forward to ascertain who it might be ; 
but before he readied the spot the light moved 


onwards ; and he followed, but could see no- 
body. It did not rise far from the ground, but 
advanced rapidly across the road, entered a 
wood, and ascended a hill, till it at length dis- 
appeared at the door of a farm-house. Unable 
to comprehend of what nature this light could 
be, the minister was deliberating whether to 
make enquiries at the house or return, when 
it appeared again, seeming to come out of the 
house, accompanied by another, passed him, 
and going over the same ground, they both dis- 
appeared on the spot where he had first observed 
the phenomenon. He left a mark on the grave by 
which he might recognise it, and the next day 
enquired of the sexton whose it was. The man 
said, it belonged to a family that lived up the 
hill, indicating the house the light had stopped 
at, named M'D. but that it was a consider- 
able time since any one had been buried there. 
The minister was extremely surprised to learn, 
in the course of the day, that a child of that 
family had died of scarlet fever on the pre- 
ceding evening. With respect to the class of 
phenomena accompanied by this phospho- 
rescent light, I shall have more to say by and 
by. The above will appear a very incredible 
story to many people, and there was a time that 
it would have appeared equally so to myself; 


but I have met with so much strange corrobo- 
rative evidence, that I no longer feel myself 
entitled to reject it. I asked the gentleman 
who told me the story, whether he believed it ; 
he said that he could not believe in anything 
of the sort. I then enquired if he would 
accept the testimony of that minister on any 
other question, and he answered, " Most as- 
suredly." As, however, I shall have occasion 
to recur to this subject in a subsequent chap- 
ter, I will leave it aside for the present, and 
relate some of the facts which led me to the 
consideration of the above theories and ex- 
periments. Dr. S. relates, that a Madame T., 
in Prussia, dreamt, on the 16th March, 1832, that 
the door opened, and her godfather, Mr. D.,who 
was much attached to her, entered the room, 
dressed as he usually was when prepared for 
church on Sundays ; and that, knowing him to 
be in bad health, she asked him what he was 
doing abroad at such an early hour, and 
whether he was quite well again. Where- 
upon, he answered, that he was; and, being 
about to undertake a very long journey, he 
had come to bid her farewell, and to intrust 
her with a commission, which was, that she 
would deliver a letter he had written to his 
wife ; but accompanying it with an injunction 
VOL. i. s 


that she, the wife, was not to open it till that 
day four years, when he would return himself, 
precisely at five o'clock in the morning, to 
fetch the answer, till which period he charged 
her not to break the seal. He then handed 
her a letter, sealed with black, the writing on 
which shone through the paper, so that she, 
the dreamer, was able to perceive that it con- 
tained an announcement to Mrs. D., the wife, 
with whom, on account of the levity of her 
character, he had long lived unhappily, that she 
would die that time four years. At this 
moment, the sleeper was awakened by what 
appeared to her a pressure of the hand, 
and, feeling an entire conviction that this was 
something more than an ordinary dream, she 
was not surprised to learn that her godfather 
was dead. She related the dream to Madame 
D., omitting, however, to mention the an- 
nouncement contained in the letter, which she 
thought the dream plainly indicated was not 
to be communicated. The widow laughed at 
the story, soon resumed her gay life, and 
married again. In the winter of 1835-6, how- 
ever, she was attacked by an intermittent fever, 
on which occasion Dr. S. was summoned to 
attend her. After various vicissitudes, she 
finally sunk ; and, on the 16th of March, 1836, 


exactly at five o'clock in the morning, she sud- 
denly started up in her bed, and, fixing her 
eyes apparently on some one she saw standing 
at the foot, she exclaimed, " What are you 
come for ? God be gracious to me ! I never 
believed it !" She then sank back, closed her 
eyes, which she never opened again, and, in a 
quarter of an hour afterwards, expired very 

A friend of mine, Mrs. M., a native of the 
West Indies, was at Blair Logic, at the period 
of the death of Dr. Abercroinbie, in Edin- 
burgh, with whom she was extremely inti- 
mate. Dr. A. died quite suddenly, without 
any previous indisposition, just as he was 
about to go out in his carriage, at eleven 
o'clock on a Thursday morning. On the night 
between the Thursday and Friday, Mrs. M. 
dreamt that she saw the family of Dr. A. all 
dressed in white, dancing a solemn funereal 
dance, upon which she awoke, wondering that 
she should have dreamt a thing so incongruous, 
pince it was contrary to their custom to dance 
on any occasion. Immediately afterwards, 
whilst speaking to her maid, who had come 
to call her, she saw Dr. Abercrombie against 
the wall, with his jaw fallen, and a livid coun- 
tenance, mournfully shaking his head, as he 


looked at her. She passed the day in great 
uneasiness, and wrote to enquire for the Doc- 
tor, relating what had happened, and express- 
ing her certainty that he was dead ; the letter 
was seen by several persons in Edinburgh, 
on the day of its arrival. 

. The two following cases seem rather to be- 
long to what is called in the East Second 
Hearing, although sympathy was probably the 
exciting cause of the phenomena. A lady and 
gentleman, in Berwickshire, were awakened 
one night by a loud cry, which they both im- 
mediately recognised to proceed from the voice 
of their son, who was then absent, and at a 
considerable distance. Tidings subsequently 
reached them that exactly at that period their 
son had fallen overboard and was drowned ; 
and on another occasion, in Perthshire, a person 
aroused her husband, one night, saying that 
their son was drowned, for she had been 
awakened by the splash. Her presentiment 
also proved too well founded, the young man 
having fallen from the mast-head of the ship. 
In both cases we mny naturally conclude, that 
the thoughts of the young men, at the moment 
of the accident, would rush homewards ; and, 
admitting Dr. Ennemoser's theory of polarity, 
the passive sleepers became the recipients of the 


force. I confess, however, that the opinion? 
of another section of philosophers appear to 
me more germain to the matter ; although to 
many persons they will doubtless be difficult of 
acceptance, from their appertaining to those 
views commonly called mystical. 

These psychologists then believe, as did 
Socrates and Plato, and others of the ancients, 
that in certain conditions of the body, which 
conditions may arise naturally, or be produced 
artificially, the links which unite it with the 
spirit may be more or less loosened ; and that 
the latter may thus be temporarily disjoined 
from the former, and so enjoy a foretaste of its 
future destiny. In the lowest, or first degree, 
of this disunion, we are awake, though scarcely 
conscious, whilst the imagination is vivified to 
an extraordinary amount, and our fancy sup- 
plies images almost as lively as the realities. 
This, probably, is the temporary condition of 
inspired poets and eminent discoverers. 

Sleep is considered another stage of this dis- 
junction, and the question has even been 
raised, whether, when the body is in profound 
sleep, the spirit is not altogether free and living 
in another world, whilst the organic life pro- 
ceeds as usual, and sustains the temple till the 
return of its inhabitant. Without, at present, 
s 5 


attempting to support or refute this doctrine' 
I will only observe, that once admitting the 
possibility of the disunion, all consideration of 
time must be set aside as irrelavent to the 
question ; for spirit, freed from matter, must 
move with the rapidity of thought in short, 
a spirit must be where its thoughts and affec- 
tions are. 

It is the opinion of these psychologists, 
however, that in the normal and healthy con- 
dition of man, the union of body, soul, and 
spirit, is most complete ; and that all the 
degrees of disunion in the waking stale are 
degrees of morbid derangement. Hence it is, 
that somnambulists and clairvoyantes are 
chiefly to be found amongst sickly women. 
There have been persons who have appeared 
to possess a power which they could exert at 
will, whereby they withdrew from their bodies, 
these remaining during the absence of the spirit 
in a state of catalepsy scarcely, if at all, to be 
distinguished from death. 

I say withdrew from their bodies, assuming 
that to be the explanation of the mystery ; for, 
of course, it is but an assumption. Epimenides 
is recorded to have possessed this faculty, and 
Hermotinus, of Clazomenes, is said to have 
wandered, in spirit, over the world, whilst hi* 


body lay apparently dead. At length, his wife 
taking advantage of this absence of his soul, 
burnt his body, and thus intercepted its return. 
So say Lucien and Pliny, the elder; and Varro 
relates, that the eldest of two brothers, named 
Oorfidius, being supposed to die, his will was 
opened and preparations were made for his 
funeral by the other brother, who was declared 
his heir. In the mean time,however,Corfidius 
revived, and told the astonished attendants, 
whom he summoned by clapping his hands, 
that he had just come from his younger brother, 
who had committed his daughter to his care, and 
informed him where he had buried some gold, 
requesting that the funeral preparations he had 
made might be converted to his own use. Imme- 
diately afterwards, the news arrived that the 
younger brother was unexpectedly deceased, 
and the gold wa fouiui at the place indicated. 
The last appears to have been a case of natural 
trance ; but the two most remarkable instances 
of voluntary trance I have met with in modern 
times is that of Colonel Townshend, and the 
Dervish, who allowed himself to be buried. 
With regard to the former, he could, to all 
appearance, die whenever he pleased; his 
heart ceased to beat; there was no perceptible 
respiration ; and his whole frame became cold 


and rigid as death itself; the features being 
shrunk and colourless, and the eyes glazed and 
ghastly. He would continue in this state for 
several hours, and then gradually revive ; but 
the revival does not appear to have been an 
effort of will ; or rather, we are not informed 
whether it was so or not. Neither are we told 
whether he brought any recollections back with 
him, nor how this strange faculty was first de- 
veloped or discovered all very important 
points, and well worthy of investigation. He 
seems to have made this experiment, however, 
once too often ; for, on one of these occasions, 
he was found to have actually expired. 

With respect to the Dervish or Fakeer, an 
account of his singular faculty, was, I believe, 
first presented to the public in the Calcutta 
papers, about nine or ten years ago. He had 
then frequently exhibited it for the satisfaction 
of the natives, but subsequently he was put to 
the proof by some of the European officers 
and residents. Captain Wade, political agent, 
at Loodhiana, was present when he was disin- 
terred, ten months after he had been buried by 
General Ventura, in presence of the Maharajah 
and many of his principal Sirdars. 

It appears that the man previously prepared 
himself by some processes, which, he says, 


temporarily annihilate the powers of diges- 
tion, so that milk received into the stomach no change. He next forces all the 
hreath in his body into his brain, which be- 
comes very hot, upon which the lungs collapse, 
and the heart ceases to beat. He then stops 
up, with wax, every aperture of the body 
through which air could enter, except the 
mouth, but the tongue is so turned back as to 
close the gullet, upon which a state of insensi- 
bility ensues. He is then stripped and put 
into a linen bag, and, on the occasion in ques- 
tion, this bag was sealed with Runjeet Sing's 
own seal. It was then placed in a deal box, 
which was also locked and sealed, and the box 
being buried in a vault, the earth was thrown 
over it and trod down, after which a crop of 
barley was sown on the spot, and sentries 
placed to watch it. The Maharajah, however, 
was so sceptical, that, in spite of all these pre- 
cautions, he had him, twice in the course of 
the ten months, dug up and examined ; and 
each time he was found to be exactly in the 
same state as when they had shut him up. 

When he i a disinterred, the first step towards 
his recovery is to turn back his tongue, which 
is found quite stiff, and requires for some time 
to be retained in its proper position by the 


finger ; warm water is poured upon him, and 
his eyes and lips moistened with ghee, or oil. 
His recovery is much more rapid than might 
be expected, and he is soon able to recognise 
the bystanders, and converse. He says, that, 
during this state of trance, his dreams are 
ravishing, and that it is very painful to be 
awakened, but I do not know that he has ever 
disclosed any of his experiences. His only 
apprehension seems to be, lest he should be 
attacked by insects, to avoid which accident 
the box is slung to the ceiling. The interval 
seems to be passed in a complete state of Hi- 
bernation ; and when he is taken up, no pulse 
is perceptible, and his eyes are glazed like 
those of a corpse. 

He subsequently refused to submit to the 
conditions proposed by some English officers, 
and thus incurred their suspicions, that the 
whole thing was an imposition ; but the experi- 
ment has been too often repeated by people 
very well capable of judging, and under too 
stringent precautions, to allow of this mode of 
escaping the difficulty. The man assumes to 
be holy, and is very probably a worthless fel- 
low, but that does not aftect the question one 
way or the other. Indian princes do not 
permit themselves to be imposed on with im- 


punity ; and, as Runjeet Sing would not value 
the man's life at a pin's point, he would 
neglect no means of debarring him all access 
to food or air. 

In the above quoted cases, except in those of 
Corfidius and Hermotinus, the absence of the 
spirit is alone suggested to the spectator by 
the condition of the body ; since the memory of 
one state does not appear to have been carried 
into the other if the spirit wandered into other 
regions it brings no tidings back ; but we have 
many cases recorded where this deficient evi- 
dence seems to be supplied. The magicians and 
soothsayers of the northern countries, by nar- 
cotics, and other means, produce a cataleptic 
state of the body, resembling death, when their 
prophetic faculty is to be exercised ; and 
although we all know that an alloy of impo- 
sition is generally mixed up with these exhi- 
bitions, still it is past a doubt, that a state of 
what we call clear-seeing is thus induced ; and 
that on awaking, they bring tidings from 
various parts of the world of actions then per- 
formingand events occurring, which subsequent 
investigation have verified. 

One of the most remarkable cases of this 
kind, is that recorded by Jung Stilling, of a 
man, who, about the year 1740 resided in the 


neighbourhood of Philadelphia, in the United 
States. His habits were retired, and he spoke 
little : he wa grave, benevolent, and pious, and 
nothing was known against his character, 
except that he had the reputation of possessing 
some secrets that were not altogether l-iwful. 
Many extraordinary stories were told of him, 
and amongst the rest, the following : The 
wife of a ship captain, whose husband was on 
a voyage to Europe and Africa, and from 
whom she had been long without tidings, over- 
whelmed with anxiety for his safety, was in- 
duced to address herself to this person. Having 
listened to her story, he begged h e to excuse 
him for awhile, when he would bring her the 
intelligence she required. He then passed into 
an inner room, and she sat herself down to 
wait; but his absence continuing longer 
than she expected, she became impatient, 
thinking he had forgotten her ; and so, 
softly approaching the door, she peeped 
through some aperture, and, to her surprise, 
beheld him lying on a sofa, as motionless as if 
he was dead. She, of course, did not think it 
advisable to disturb him, but waited his return, 
when he told her that her husband had not 
been able to write to her for such and such 
reasons ; but that he was then in a coffee -houc 


in London, and would very shortly be home 
again. Accordingly, he arrived, and as the 
lady learnt from him that the causes of his 
unusual silence had been precisely those al- 
leged by the man, she felt extremely desirous 
of ascertaining the truth of the rest of the in- 
formation ; and in this she was gratified ; for 
he no sooner set his eyes on the magician than 
he said that he had seen him before, on a cer- 
tainday, in a coffee-house in London ; and that 
he had told him that his wife was extremely 
uneasy about him ; and that he, the captain, 
had thereon mentioned how he had been pre- 
vented writing; adding that he was on the 
eve of embarking for America. He had then 
lost sight of the stranger amongst the throng, 
and knew nothing more about him. 

I have no authority for this story, but that 
of Jung Stilling ; and if it stood alone, it 
might appear very incredible ; but it is sup- 
ported by so many parallel examples of infor- 
mation given by people in somnambulic states, 
that we are not entitled to reject it on> the 
score of impossibility. 

The late Mr. John Holloway, of the Bank 
of England, brother to the engraver of that 
name, related of himself that being one night 
in bed, with his wife, and unable to sleep, he 

VOL. i. T 


had fixed his eyes and thoughts with uncom- 
mon intensity on a beautiful star that was 
shining in at the window, when he suddenly 
ibund his spirit released from his body and 
soaring into that bright sphere. But, instantly 
seized with anxiety for the anguish of his wife, 
if she discovered his body apparently dead be- 
side her, he returned, and re-entered it with 
difficulty (hence, perhaps, the violent convul- 
sions with w r hich some somnambules of the 
highest order are awakened). He described 
that returning, was returning to darkness ; and 
that whilst the spirit was free, he was alter- 
nately in the light or the dark, accordingly as 
Us thoughts were with his wife or u-ith the 
star. He said that he always avoided any- 
thing that could produce a repetition of this 
accident, the consequences of it being very 

We know that by intense contemplation of 
this sort, the Dervishes produce a state of 
extacy, in which they pretend to be transported 
to other spheres ; and not only the Seeress of 
Prevorst, but many other persons in a highly 
magnetic state, have asserted the same thing 
of themselves ; and certainly the singular con- 
formity of the intelligence they bring is not a 
little remarkable. 


Dr. Kerner relates of his somnambule, 
Frederica Hauffe, that one day, at Weinsberg, 
she exclaimed in her sleep, " Oh ! God !" She 
immediately awoke, as if aroused by the ex- 
clamation, and said that she seemed to have 
heard two voices proceeding from herself. At 
this time, her father was lying dead in his 
coffin, at Oberstenfeld, and Dr. Fohr, the 
physician, who had attended him in his illness, 
was sitting with another person in an adjoin- 
ing room, with the door open ; when he heard 
the exclamation," Oh,God I" so distinctly, that, 
feeling certain there was nobody there, he 
hastened to the coffin, from whence the sound 
had appeared to proceed, thinking that Mr. 
W.'s death had been only apparent, and that 
he was reviving. The other person, who was 
an uncle of Frederica's, had heard nothing. 
No person was discovered from whom the ex- 
clamation could have proceeded, and the cir- 
cumstance remained a mystery till an expla- 
nation ensued. Plutarch relates, that a certain 
man, called Thespesius, having fallen from a 
great height, was taken up apparently dead 
from the shock, although no external wound 
was to be discovered. On the third day after 
the accident, however, when they were about 
to bury him, he unexpectedly revived ; and it 


was afterwards observed, to the surprise of all 

who knew him, that, from being a vicious 

reprobate, he became one of the most virtuous 

of men. On being interrogated with respect 

to the cause of the change, he related that, 

during the period of his bodily insensibility, it 

appeared to him that he was dead, and that he 

had been first plunged into the depths of an 

ocean, out of which, however, he soon emerged, 

and then, at one view, the whole of space was 

disclosed to him. Everything appeared in a 

different aspect, and the dimensions of the 

planetary bodies, and the intervals betwixt 

them, was tremendous ; whilst his spirit 

seemed to float in a sea of light, like a ship in 

calm waters. He also described many other 

things that he had seen ; he said that the souls 

of the dead, on quitting the body, appeared 

like a bubble of light, out of which a human 

form was quickly evolved. That, of these, 

some shot away at once in a direct line, with 

great rapidity, whilst others, on the contrary, 

seemed unable to find their due course, and 

continued to hover about, going hither and 

thither, till at length they also darted away in 

one direction or another. He recognized few 

of these persons he saw, but those whom he 

did, and sought to address, appeared as if they 


were stunned and amazed, and avoided him 
with terror. Their voices were indistinct, and 
seemed to be uttering vague lamentings. 
There were others, also, who floated farther 
from the earth, who looked bright, and were 
gracious; these avoided the approach of the 
last. In short, the demeanour and appearance 
of these spirits manifested clearly their degrees 
of joy or grief. Thespesius was then informed 
by one of them, that he was not dead, but that 
he had been permitted to come there by a 
divine decree, and that his soul, which was 
yet attached to his body, as by an anchor, 
would return to it again. Thespesius then 
observed, that he was different to the dead, by 
whom he was surrounded, and this observation 
seemed to restore him to his recollection. 
They were transparent, and environed by a 
radiance, but he seemed to trail after him a 
dark ray, or line of shadow. These spirits 
also presented very different aspects ; some 
were entirely pervaded by a mild, clear, ra- 
diance, like that of the full moon ; through 
others there appeared faint streaks, that 
diminished this splendour ; whilst others, on 
the contrary, were distinguished by spots, or 
stripes of black, or of a dark colour, like the 
marks on the skin of a viper. 
T 5 


There is a circumstance which I cannot help 
here mentioning in connexion with this history 
of Thespesius, which on first reading it struck 
me very forcibly. 

About three years ago, I had several oppor- 
tunities of seeing two young girls, then 
under the care of a Mr. A., of Edinburgh, who 
hoped, chiefly by means of magnetism, to re- 
store them to sight. One was a maid-servant 
afflicted with amaurosis, whom he had taken 
into his house from a charitable desire to be of 
use to her ; the other, who had been blind 
from her childhood, was a young lady in better 
circumstances, the daughter of respectable 
tradespeople in the north of England. The 
girl with amaurosis was restored to sight, and 
the other was so far benefitted that she could 
distinguish houses, trees, carriages, &c., and, 
at length, though obscurely, the features of a 
person near her. At this period of the cure 
she was unhappily removed, and may possibly 
have relapsed into her former state. My 
reason, however, for alluding to these young- 
women on this occasion, is, that they were in 
the habit of saying, when in the magnetic 
state for they were both, more or less, clair- 
voyantes that the people, whom Dr. A. was 
magnetising in the same room, presented very 


different appearances. Some of them they 
described as looking 1 bright ; whilst others 
were in different degrees, streaked with black. 
One or two they mentioned over whom there 
seemed to hang a sort of cloud, like a ragged 
veil of darkness. They also said, though this 
was before any tidings of Baron von Reichen- 
bach's discoveries had reached this country, that 
they saw light streaming from the fingers of 
Mr. A., when he magnetised them; and that 
sometimes his whole person seemed to them 
radiant. Now, I am positively certain that 
neither Mr. A., nor these girls, had ever 
heard of this story of Thespesius ; neither had 
I, at that time ; and I confess, when I did 
meet with it, I was a good deal struck by the 
coincidence. These young people said, that it 
was the " goodness or badness," meaning the 
moral slate, of the persons that was thus indi- 
cated. Now, surely this concurrence betwixt 
the man, mentioned by Plutarch, and these two 
girls the one of whom had no education 
whatever, and the other very little is worthy 
of some regard. 

I once asked a young person, in a highly 
clairvoyante state, whether she ever saw" the 
spirits of them that had passed away ;" for so 
die designated the dead, never using the word 


death herself, in any of itsforms. She answered 
me, that she did. 

"Then where are they?' 1 1 enquired. 

" Some are waiting, and some are gone on 

" Can you speak to them ?" I asked. 

" No," she replied, <: there is no meddling nor 
no diretion." 

In her waking state, she would have been 
quite incapable of these answers ; and that 
" some are waiting and some gone on before," 
seems to be much in accordance with the 
vision of Thespesius. 

Dr. Passavent mentions a peasant boy, who, 
after a short but painful illness, apparently 
died, his body being perfectly stiff. He, how- 
ever, revived, complaining bitterly of being 
called bock to life. He said he had been in a 
delightful place, and seen his deceased rela- 
tions. There was a great exaltation of the 
faculties after this ; and having been before 
rather stupid, he now, whilst his body 
lay stiff and immoveable and his eyes 
closed, prayed and discoursed with eloquence. 
He continued in this state for seven weeks, but 
finally recovered. 

In the year 1733, Johann Sehwerzeger fell 
into a similar state of trance, af;er an illness, 



but revived. He said he had seen his .whole 
life, and every sin he had committed, even 
those he had quite forgotten everything had 
been as present to him as when it happened. 
He also lamented being recalled from the 
happiness he was about to enter into ; but said 
that he had only two days to spend in this 
valley of tears, during which time he wished 
everybody that would, should come and listen 
to what he had to tell them. His before 
sunken eyes now looked bright, his face had 
the bloom of youth, and he discoursed so elo- 
quently that the minister said, they had ex- 
changed offices, and the sick man had become 
his teacher. He died at the time he had fore- 

The most frightful cases of trance rcorded, 
are those in which the patient retains entire con- 
sciousness, although utterly unable to exhibit 
any evidence of life ; and it is dreadful to think 
how many persons may have been actually 
buried, hearing every nail that was screwed 
into their own coffin, and as perfectly aw r are of 
the whole ceremony as those who followed 
them to the grave. 

Dr. Binns mentions a girl, at Canton, who 
lay in this statf, hearing every word that was 
said around her, but utterly unable to move a 


finger. She tried to cry out, but could not, 
and supposed that she was really dead. The 
horror of finding herself about to be buried, 
at length caused a perspiration to appear on 
her skin, and she finally revived. She de_ 
scribed that she felt that her soul had no power 
to act upon her body ; and that it seemed to 
be in her body and out of it, at the same time. 

Now, this is very much what the somnam- 
bulists say their soul is out of the body, but 
is still so far in rapport with it, that it does not 
leave it entirely. Probably, magnetism would 
be the best means of reviving^ a person from 
this state. 

The custom of burying people before there 
are unmistakable signs of death, is a very con- 
demnable one. A Mr. M'G. fell into a trance, 
some few years since, and remained insensible 
for five days, his mother being, meanwhile, 
quite shocked that the physician would not 
allow him to be buried. He had, afterwards, 
a recurrence of the malady, which continued 
seven days. 

A Mr. S., who had been some time out of 
the country, died, apparently, two days after 
his return. As he had eaten of a pudding 
which his step-mother had made for his dinner) 
with her own hands, people took into their 


heads she had poisoned him ; and, the grave 
being opened for purposes of investigation, 
the body was found lying on its face. 

One of the most frightful cases extant, is 
that of Dr. Walker, of Dublin, who had so 
strong a presentiment on this subject, that he 
had actually written a treatise against the Irish 
customs of hasty burial. He himself, subse- 
quently died, as was believed, of a fever. His 
decease took place in the night, and on the 
following day he was interred. At this time, 
Mrs. Bellamy, the once celebrated actress, was 
in Ireland ; and as she had promised him, in 
the course of conversation, that she would 
take care he should not be laid in the earth 
till unequivocal signs of dissolution had ap- 
peared, she no sooner heard of what had hap- 
pened, than she took measures to have the 
grave re-opened ; but it was, unfortunately, 
too late; Dr. Walker had evidently revived, 
and had turned upon his side ; but life was now 
quite extinct. The case related by Lady Fan- 
shawe, of her mother, is very remarkable, from 
the confirmation furnished by the event of her 

" My mother, being sick of a fever," says 
Lady F., in her memoirs, " her friends and 
servants thought lie? deceased, and she lay in 


that state for two days and a night ; but Mr- 
Winslow, coming to comfort my father, went 
into my mother's room, and, looking earnestly 
in her face, said, ' She was so handsome, and 
looked so lovely, that he could not think her 
dead ; and, suddenly taking a lancet ont of 
his pocket, he cut the sole of her foot, which 
bled, upon this he immediately caused her to 
be removed to the bed again, and to be rubbed, 
and such means used that she came to life, and 
opening her eyes, saw two of her kinswomen 
standing by her, Lady Knollys and Lady 
Russell, both with great wide sleeves, as the 
fashion then was ; and she said, ' Did you 
not promise me fifteen years, and are you come 
again already?' which they, notunderstanding, 
bade her keep her spirits quiet in that great 
weakness wherein she was ; but, some hours 
after, she desired my father and Dr. Howies- 
worth might l)e left alone with her, to whom 
she said, I will acquaint you, that, during my 
trance, I was in great grief, but in a place I 
could neither distinguish nor describe ; but 
the sense of leaving my girl, who is dearer to 
me than all my children, remained a trouble 
upon my spirits. Suddenly I saw two by me, 
clothed in long white garments, and methought 
I fell down upon my face in the dust, and they 

TUANCE. 217 

asked me why I was so troubled in so great 
happiness. I replied, ' Oh, let me have the 
same grant given to Hezekiah, that I may live 
fifteen years to see my daughter a woman,' 
to which they answered, * It is done !' and 
then at that instant I awoke out of my trance !' 
And Dr. Howlesworth did affirm, that that day 
she died, made just fifteen years from that time.'' 

I have met with a somewhat similar case to 
this, which occurred to the mother of a very 
respectable person, now living in Edinburgh. 
She having been ill, was supposed to be dead, 
and preparations were making for her funeral, 
when one of her fingers were seen to move, 
and, restoratives being applied, she revived. 
As soon as she could speak, she said that she 
had been at the gates of heaven, where she 
saw some going in, but that they told her she 
was not ready. Amongst those who had passed 
her, and been admitted, she said, she had seen 
Mr. So-and-so, the baker, and the remarkable 
thing was, that during the time she had been 
in the trance, this man had died. 

On the 10th of January, 1717, Mr. John 
Gardner, a minister, at Elgin, fell into a trance, 
and, being to all appearance dead, he was put 
into a coffin, and on the second day was carried 
to the grave. But fortunately a noise being 

VOL. i. u 

218 TRANCE. 

heard, the coffin was opened, and he was found 
alive and taken home again ; where, according 
to the record, " he related many strange and 
amazing things which he had seen in the other 

Not to mention somnamhules, there are 
numerous other cases recorded of persons who 
have said, on awaking from a trance, that they 
had been in the other world ; though fre- 
quently the freed spirit, supposing that to be 
the interpretation of the mystery, seems 
busied with the affairs of the earth and brings 
tidings from distant places, as in the case of 
the American above-mentioned. Perhaps, in 
these latter cases, the disunion is less complete. 
Dr. Werner relates, of his somnambule, that 
it was after those attacks of catalepsy, in 
which her body had lain stiff and cold, that 
she used to say she had been wandering away 
through other spheres. Where the catalepsy 
is spontaneous and involuntary, and resembles 
death so nearly as not to be distinguished 
from it, we may naturally conclude, if we ad- 
mit this hypothesis at all, that the seeing of 
the spirit would be clear in proportion to its 
disentanglement from the flesh. 

I have spoken above of dream compelling' 
or suggesting, and I have heard of persons 


who have a power of directing their own dreams 
to any particular subject. 

This faculty may be, in some degree, analo- 
gous to that possessed by the American, and a 
few somnambulic persons, who appear to carry 
the recollections of one state into the other. 
The effects produced by the witch potions 
seem to have been somewhat similar, inasmuch 
as they dreamt what they expected or wished 
to dream. Jung Stilling mentions, that a 
woman gave in evidence, on a witch trial, that 
having visited the so-called witch, she had 
found her concocting a potion over the tire, of 
which she had advised her, the visitor, to 
drink, assuring her that she would then accom- 
pany her to the Sabbath. The woman said, 
lest she should give offence, she had put the 
vessel to her lips, but had not drank of it ; the 
witch, however, swallowed the whole, and 
immediately afterwards sunk down upon the 
hearth in a profound sleep, where she had left 
her. When she went to see her on the fol- 
lowing day, she declared she had been to the 

Paolo Minucci relates, that a woman ac- 
cused of sorcery, being brought before a cer- 
tain magistrate, at Florence, she not only 
confessed her guilt, but she declared that, pro- 


vided they would let her return home and anoint 
herself, she would attend the Sabbath that 
very night. The magistrate, a man more en- 
lightened than the generality of his contem- 
poraries, consented. The woman went home, 
used her unguent, and fell immediately into a 
profound sleep ; whereupon they tied her to 
the bed, and tested the reality of the sleep by 
burns, blows, and pricking her with sharp 
instruments. When she awoke on the follow- 
ing day, she related that she had attended 
the Sabbath. 1 could quote several similar 
facts ; and Gassendi actually endeavoured to 
undeceive some peasants who believed them- 
selves witches, by composing an ointment that 
produced the same effects as their own magical 

In the year 1 545, Andre Laguna, physician 
to Pope Julius III., anointed a patient of his, 
who was suffering from phrenzy and sleep- 
lessness, with an unguent found in the house 
of a sorcerer, who had been arrested. The 
patient slept for thirty-six hours consecutively, 
and when, with much difficulty, she was 
awakened, she complained that they had torn 
her from the most ravishing delights ; delights 
which seem to have rivalled the Heaven of the 
Mahometan. According to Llorente, the women 


who were dedicated to the service of the 
Mother of the Gods, heard continually the 
sounds of flutes and tambourines, beheld the 
joyous dances of the fauns and satyrs, and 
tasted of intoxicating pleasures, doubtless from 
a similar cause. 

It is difficult to imagine, that all the unfor- 
tunate wretches who suffered death at the 
stake in the middle ages, for having attended 
the unholy assemblies they described, had no 
faith in their own stories ; yet, in spite of the 
unwearied vigilance of public authorities, and 
private malignity, no such assemblage was ever 
detected. Ho\v, then, are we to account for 
the pertinacity of their confessions, but by 
supposing them the victims of some extraor- 
dinary delusion ? In a paper addressed to the 
Inquisition, by Llorente, he does not scruple to 
assert, that the crimes imputed to, and con- 
fessed by, witches, have most frequently no 
existence but in their dreams ; and that 
their dreams are produced by the drugs with 
which they anointed themselves. 

The recipes for these compositions, which 
had descended traditionally from age to age, 
have been lost since witchcraft went out of 
fashion, and modern science has no time to 
investigate secrets which appear to be more 


curious than profitable ; but in the profound 
sleep produced by these applications, it is not 
easy to say what phenomena may have occurred 
to justify, or, at least, account for, their self- 



SUCH instances as that of Lady Fanshawe, and 
other similar ones, certainly seem to favour 
the hypothesis, that the spirit is freed from 
the body, when the latter becomes no longer 
a fit habitation for it. It does so when actual 
death supervenes, and the reason of its depar- 
ture we may naturally conclude to be, that the 
body has ceased to be available for its manifes- 
tations ; and in these cases, which seem so 
nearly allied to death, that, frequently, there 
would actually be no revival but for the exer- 
tions used, it does not seem very difficult to 


conceive that this separation may take place. 
When we are standing by a death bed, all we 
see is the death of the body, of the going- forth 
of the spirit we see nothing ; so in cases of 
apparent death, it may depart and return, 
whilst we are aware of nothing but the re- 
animation of the organism. Certain it is, that 
the Scriptures countenance this view of the 
case in several instances; thus, Luke says, 
Chap, viii., 34, "And he put them all out, and 
took her by the hand, and called, saying, 
* Maid, arise !' And her spirit came again, 
and she arose straightway," &c., &c. 

Dr. Wigan observes, when speaking of the 
effects of temporary pressure on the brain, that 
the mind is not annihilated, because, if the pres- 
sure is timely removed, it is restored, though, 
if continued too long, the body will be resolved 
into its primary elements ; and he compares the 
human organism to a watch, which we can 
either stop or set going at will, which watch, 
he says, will also be gradually resolved into its 
ultimate elements by chemical action ; and, he 
adds, that, to ask where the mind is, during the 
interruption, is like asking where the motion 
of the watch is. I think a wind instrument 
would be a better simile, for the motion of the 
watch is purely mechanical. It require^ no 


informing, intelligent spirit to breathe into its 
apertures and make it the vehicle of the harsh- 
est discords, or of the most eloquent discourses. 
" The divinely mysterious essence, which we 
call the soul," he adds, "is not then the mind, 
from which it must be carefully distinguished, 
if we would hope to make any progress in 
mental philosophy. Where the soul resides 
during the suspension of the mental powers 
by asphyxia, I know not, any more than I 
know where it resided before it was united 
with that specific compound of bones, muscles, 
and nerve." 

By a temporary pressure on the brain, the 
mind is certainly not annihilated, but its 
manifestations by means of the brain are sus- 
pended ; the source of these manifestations 
being the soul or anima, in which dwells 
the life, fitting the temple for its divine 
inhabitant, the spirit. The connexion of the 
soul and the body is probably a much more 
intimate one than that of the latter with the 
spirit ; though the soul, as well as the spirit, is 
immortal and survives when the body dies. 
Somnambulic persons seem to intimate that 
the soul of the fleshly body becomes, here- 
after, the body of the spirit, as if the imago or 
idolon were the soul. 

Dr. Wigan, and indeed physiologists in 


general, do not appear to recognise the old 
distinction betwixt the pneuma or anima and 
the psyche the soul and the spirit ; and in- 
deed the Scriptures occasionally seem to use 
the terms indifferently ; but still there are pas- 
sages enough which mark the distinction ; as 
where St. Paul speaks of a " living soul and 
a quickening spirit," 1 Cor. xv., 45 ; again, 
1 Thess. T., 23, " I pray God your whole spirit, 
and soul, and body, &c,;" and also, Hebrews 
iv. 12. Where he speaks of the sword of God 
" dividing asunder the soul and spirit." In 
Genesis, chap, ii., we are told that " man be- 
came a living soul ;" but it is distinctly said, 
1 Cor. xii., that the gifts of prophecy, the dis-r 
cerniug of spirits, &c. &c. belong to the spirit. 
Then, with regard to the possibility of the 
spirit absenting itself from the body, St. Paul 
says, in referring to his own vision, 2 Cor. xii., 
" I knew a man in Christ, about fourteen 
years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell ; 
or out of the body, I cannot tell; God 
knoweth) ; such an one caught up to the third 
heaven ;" and we are told, also, that to be 
" absent from the body is to be present with 
the Lord," and that when we are " at home in 
the body we are absent from the Lord-" We 
are told, also, " the spirit returns to God, who 
gave it ;" but it depends on ourselves whether 


or not our souls shall perish. We must suppose, 
however, that even in the worst cases some 
remnant of this divine spirit remains with the 
soul as long as the latter is not utterly per- 
verted and rendered incapable of salvation. 

St. John also says, that when he prophesied, 
he was in the spirit ; but it was the " Souls of 
the Slain" that he saw, and that " cried with 
a loud voice, &c. &c." Souls, here, being pro- 
bably used in the sense of individuals ; as 
we say, " So many souls perished by ship- 
wreck, &c." 

In the "Revue de Paris," 29th July, 1838, 
it is related that a child saw the soul of a 
woman who was lying insensible in a mag- 
netic crisis in which death nearly ensued, 
depart out of her; and I find recorded in 
another work that a somnambule who was 
brought to give advice to a patient, said, " It 
is too late ; her soul is leaving her. I see the 
vital flame quitting her brain." 

From some of the cases I have above re- 
lated, we are led to the conclusion, that in 
certain conditions of the body, the spirit, in a 
manner unknown to us, resumes a portion of 
its freedom, and is enabled to exercise more or 
less of its inherent properties. It is somewhat 
released from those inexorable conditior.s of 

2'28 WRAITHS. 

time and space, which bound and limit its 
powers, whilst in close connexion with matter, 
and it communes with other spirits who are 
also liberated. How far this liberation (if such 
it be), or re-integration of natural attributes, 
may take place in ordinary sleep, we can only 
conclude from examples. In prophetic dreams, 
and in those instances of information appa- 
rently received from the dead, this condition 
seems to occur ; as, also, in such cases as that 
of the gentleman mentioned in a former chap- 
ter, who has several times been conscious on 
awaking, that he had been conversing with 
some one, whom he has been subsequently 
startled to hear had died at that period, and 
this is a man apparently in excellent health, 
endowed with a vigorous understanding, and 
immersed in active business. 

In the story of the American, quoted in a 
former chapter from Jung Stilling, there was 
one point which I forbore to comment on at 
the moment, but to which I must now revert; 
this is the assertion, that the voyager had seen 
the man, and even conversed with him, in the 
coffee-house, in London, whence the desired 
intelligence was brought. Now, this single 
case standing alone, would amount to nothing, 
although Jung Stilling, who was one of the 


most conscientious of men, declares himself to 
have been quite satisfied with the authority on 
which he relates it ; but, strange to say for 
undoubtedly the thing is very strange there 
are numerous similar instances recorded ; and 
it seems to have been believed in all ages of 
the world, that people were sometimes seen, 
where bodily they were not; seen not by 
sleepers alone, but by persons in a perfect state 
of vigilance ; and that this phenomenon, 
though more frequently occurring at the 
moment that the individual seen is at the 
point of death, does occasionally occur at in- 
definite periods anterior to the catastrophe ; 
and sometimes where no such catastrophe is 
impending. In some of these cases, an earnest 
desire seems to be the cause of the pheno- 
menon. It is not very long since a very esti- 
mable lady, who was dying in the Mediter- 
ranean, expressed herself perfectly ready to 
meet death, if she could but once more- behold 
her children, who were in England. She 
soon afterwards fell into a comatose state, and 
the persons surrounding her were doubtful 
whether she had not already breathed her last; 
at all events, they did not expect her to revive. 
She did so, however, and now cheerfully an- 
nounced that having seen her children, she 
VOL. i. x 


was ready to depart. During the interval 
that she lay in this state, her family saw her 
in England, and were thus aware of her 
death before the intelligence reached them. 
As it is a subject, I understand, they are un- 
willing to speak of, I do not know precisely 
under what circumstances she was seen ; but 
this is an exactly analogous case to that al- 
ready recorded of Maria Goffe, of Rochester, 
who, when dying, away from home, expressed 
precisely the same feelings. She said she 
could not die happy till she had seen her chil- 
dren. By and by, she fell into a state of coma, 
which left them uncertain whether she was 
dead or alive. Her eyes were open and fixed, 
her jaw fallen, and there was no perceptible 
respiration. When she revived, she told her 
mother, who attended her, that she had been 
home and seen her children ; which the other 
said was impossible, since she had been lying 
there in the bed the whole time. " Yes," re- 
plied the dying woman, et but I was there in 
my sleep." A widow woman, called Alexander, 
who had the care of these children, declared 
herself ready to take oath upon the sacrament, 
that during this period, she had seen the form 
of Maria Goffe come out of the room, where 
the eldest child slept, and approach the bed 
where she herself lay with the younger beside 


her. The figure had stood there nearly a 
quarter of an hour, as far as she could judge ; 
and she remarked that the eyes and the mouth 
moved, though she heard no sound. She de- 
clared herself to have been perfectly awake, 
and that as it was the longest night in the 
year, it was quite light. She sat up in bed, 
and whilst she was looking on the figure, the 
clock on the bridge struck two. She then 
adjured the form in the name of God, where- 
upon it moved. She immediately arose and 
followed it ; but could not tell what had be- 
come of it. She then became alarmed, and 
throwing on her clothes, went out and walked 
on the quay, returning to the house ever and 
anon to look at the children. At five o'clock, 
she knocked at a neighbour's door, but they 
would not let her in. At six, she knocked 
again, and was then admitted, and related to 
them what she had seen, which they, of 
course, endeavoured to persuade her was a 
dream or an illusion. She declared herself, 
however, to have been perfectly awake ; and 
said, that if ever she had seen Maria Goffe in 
her life, she had seen her that night. 

The following story has been currently re- 
lated in Rome, and is already in print. I take 
it from a German work, and I do not know 


how far its authenticity can be established. 

It is to the effect that two friends having 
agreed to attend confession together, one of 
them went at the appointed time to the Abbate 
B., and made his confession; after which the 
priest commenced the usual admonition, in the 
midst of which he suddenly ceased speaking. 
After waiting a short time, the penitent stept 
forward and perceived him lying in the con- 
fessional in a state of insensibility. Aid was 
summoned and means used to restore him, 
which were for some time ineffectual ; at 
length, when he opened his eyes, he bade the 
penitent recite a prayer for his friend, who had 
just expired. This proved to be the case, on 
enquiry; and when the young man, Avho had 
naturally hastened to his friend's house, ex- 
pressed a hope that he had not died without 
the last offices of the church, he was told to 
his amazement, that the Abbate B. had arrived 
just as he was in extremis, and had remained 
with him till he died. 

These appearances seem to have taken place 
when the corporeal condition of the person 
seen elsewhere permits us to conceive the pos- 
sibility of the spirit's having withdrawn from 
the body ; but the question then naturally arises, 
what is it that was seen ; and I confess, that of 


all the difficulties that surround the subject, I 
have undertaken to treat of, this seems to me 
the greatest ; for we cannot suppose that a 
spirit can be visible to the human eye, and 
both in the above instances and several others 
I have to narrate, there is nothing that can 
lead us to the conclusion, that the persons 
who saw the wraith or double, were in any 
other than a normal state; the figure, in short, 
seems to have been perceived through their 
external organs of sense. Before I discuss this 
question, however, any further, I will relate 
some instances of a similar kind, only with this 
difference, that the wraith appearing as nearly 
as could be ascertained at the moment of death, 
it remains uncertain whether it was seen before 
or after the dissolution had taken place. As 
both in these cases above related and those 
that follow, the material body was visible in 
one place, whilst the wraith was visible in 
another, they appear to be strictly analogous ; 
especially, as in both class of examples, the 
body itself was either dead or in a state that 
closely resembled death. 

Instances of people being seen at a distance 
from the spot on which they are dying, are so 
numerous, that in this department I have po- 
sitively an emlarras de richesses, and find it 
x 5 


difficult to make a selection ; more especially 
as there is in each case little to relate, the whole 
phenomenon being comprised in the fact of the 
form being observed and the chief variations 
consisting in this, that the seer, or seers, fre- 
quently entertain no suspicion that what they 
have seen is any other than a form of flesh and 
blood; whilst on other occasions the assurance 
that the person is far away, or some peculiarity 
connected with the appearance itself, produces 
the immediate conviction that the shape is not 

Mrs. K., the sister of Provost B., of Aber- 
deen, was sitting one day with her husband, 
Dr. K., in the parlour of the manse, when she 
suddenly said, " Oh ! there's my brother 
come ! he has just passed the window," and, 
followed by her husband, she hastened to the 
door to meet the visitor. He was however not 
there. " He is gone round to the back door," 
said she ; and thither they went ; but neither 
was he there, nor had the servants seen any 
thing of him. Dr. K. said she must be mis- 
taken ; but she laughed at the idea; her brother 
had passed the window and looked in; he must 
have gone somewhere, and would doubtless be 
back directly. But he came not ; and the intel- 
ligent shortly arrived from St. Andrew's, that 


at that precise time, as nearly as they could 
compare circumstances, he had died quite sud- 
denly at his own place of residence. I have 
heard this story from connexions of the family t 
and also from an eminent professor of Glasgow, 
who told me that he had once asked Dr. K., 
whether he believed, in these appearances. 
"I cannot choose but believe," returned Dr. K., 
and then he accounted for his conviction by 
narrating the above particulars. 

Lord and Lady M. were residing on their 
estate in Ireland ; Lord M. had gone out 
shooting in the morning ; and was not expected 
to return till towards dinner time. In the 
course of the afternoon, Lady M. and a friend 
were walking on the terrace that forms a 
promenade in front of the castle, when she 
said, "Oh, there is M. returning!" whereupon 
she called to him to join them. He, however, 
took no notice, but walked on before them, till 
they saw him enter the house, whither they 
followed him ; but he was not to be found ; 
and before they had recovered their surprise 
at his sudden disappearance, he was brought 
home dead; having been killed by his own 
gun. It is a curious fact in this case, that 
whilst the ladies were walking behind the 
figure, on the terrace, Lady M. called the 


attention of her companion to the shooting 
jacket, observing that it was a particularly 
convenient one, and that she had the credit 
of having contrived it for him herself. 

A person in Edinburgh, busied about her 
daily work, saw a woman enter her house with 
whom she was on such ill terms that she could 
not but be surprired at the visit ; but whilst 
she was expecting an explanation, and under 
the influence of her resentment avoiding to 
look at her, she found she was gone. She re- 
mained quite unable to account for the visit, 
and as she said, " Was wondering what had 
brought her there," when she heard that the 
woman had expired at that precise time. 

Madame O. B. was engaged to marry an 
officer who was with his regiment in India ; 
and wishing to live in privacy till the union 
took place, she retired to the country and 
boarded with some ladies of her acquaintance, 
awaiting his return. She, at length, heard 
that he had obtained an appointment, which, 
by improving his prospects, had removed some 
difficulties out of the way of the marriage, and 
that he was immediately coming home. A 
short time after the arrival of this intelligence, 
this lady and one of those with whom she was 
residing, were walking over a bridge, when 

WRAITHS. '237 


the friend said, alluding to an officer, she saw 
on the other side of the way, " what an ex- 
traordinary expression of face." But without 
pausing to answer, Madame O. B. darted 
across the road to meet the stranger but he 
was gone ! Where? They could not conceive. 
They ran to the toll-keepers at the ends of the 
bridge to enquire if they had observed such a 
person ; but they had not. Alarmed and per- 
plexed, for it was her intended husband that 
she had seen, Madame O. B. returned home ; 
and in due time the packet that should have 
brought himself, brought the sad tidings of his 
unexpected death. 

Madame O. B. never recovered the shock, 
and died herself of a broken heart not long 

Mr. H., an eminent artist, was walking arm 
in arm, with a friend, in Edinburgh, when he 
suddenly left him, saying, " Oh, there's my 
brother!" He had seen him with the most 
entire distinctness, but was confounded by 
losing sight of him, without being able to 
ascertain whither he had vanished. News 
came, ere long, that at that precise period his 
brother had died. 

Mrs. T., sitting in her drawing-room, saw 
her nephew, then at Cambridge, pass across 


the adjoining room. She started up to meet 
him, and, not finding him, summoned the ser- 
vants to ask where he was. They, however, 
had not seen him, and declared he could not be 
there; whilst she as positively declared he 
was. The young man had died, at Cambridge, 
quite unexpectedly. 

A Scotch minister went to visit a friend, 
who was dangerously ill. After sitting with 
the invalid for some time, he left him to take 
some rest, and went below. He had been 
reading in the library some little time, when, 
on looking up, he saw the sick man standing 
at the door. " God bless me !" he cried, start- 
ing up, " how can you be so imprudent ?" The 
figure disappeared ; and hastening upstairs, he 
found his friend had expired. 

Three young men, at Cambridge, had been 
out hunting, and afterwards dined together in 
the apartments of one of them. After dinner, 
two of the party, fatigued with their morning's 
exercise, fell asleep, whilst, the third, a Mr. 
M., remained awake. Presently the door 
opened, and a gentleman entered and placed 
himself behind the sleeping owner of the 
rooms, and, after standing there a minute, pro- 
ceeded into the gyp-room a small inner 
chamber, from which there was no egress. 


Mr. M. waited a little while, expecting the 
stranger would come out again ; but as he did 
not, he awoke his host, saying, "There's 
somebody gone into your room ; I don't know 
who it can be." 

The young man rose and looked into the 
gyp-room, but there being nobody there he 
naturally accused Mr. M. of dreaming ; but 
the other assured him he had not been asleep. 
He then described the stranger an elderly 
man, &c. &c. dressed like a country squire, 
with gaiters on, and so forth. " Why that's 
my father," said the host, and he imme- 
diately made enquiry, thinking it possible 
the old gentleman had slipt out unobserved 
by Mr. M. He was not, however, to be heard 
of ; and the post shortly brought a letter an- 
nouncing that he had died at the time he had 
been seen in his son's chamber at Cambridge. 
Mr. C. F. and some young ladies were not 
long ago, standing together looking in at a 
shop window, at Brighton, when he suddenly 
darted across the way and they saw him 
hurrying along the street, apparently in pur- 
suit of somebody. After waiting a little while, 
as he did not return, they went home with- 
out him ; and when he come, they of course 
arraigned him for his want of gallantry. 


" I beg your pardon," said he ; " but I saw an 
acquaintance of mine that owes me some 
money, and I wanted to get hold of him." 

" And did you ?" enquired the ladies. 

" No," returned he ; "I kept sight of him 
some time ; but I suddenly missed him. I can't 
think how." 

No more was thought of the matter ; but by 
the next morning's post, Mr. C. F. received a 
letter, enclosing a draught from the father of 
the young man he had seen, saying, that his 
son had just expired ; and that one of his last 
requests had been that he would pay Mr. C. 
F. the money that he owed him. 

Two young ladies staying at the Queen's 
Ferry, arose one morning early, to bathe ; as 
they descended the stairs, they each exclaimed, 
" There's my uncle ! They had seen him 
standing by the clock. He died at that time. 

Very lately, a gentleman living in Edin- 
burgh, whilst sitting with his wife, suddenly 
arose from his seat, and advanced towards the 
door, with his hand extended, as if about to 
welcome a visitor. On his wife's enquiring 
what he was about, he answered that he had 
seen so-and-so enter the room. She had seen 
nobody. A day or two afterwards the post 
brought a letter announcing the death of the 
person seen. 


A regiment, not very long since, stationed at 
New Orleans, had a temporary mess-room 
erected, at one end of which was a door for 
the officers ; and at the other, a door and a 
space railed off for the messman. One day, 
two of the officers were playing at chess, or 
draughts, one sitting with his face towards the 
centre of the room, the other with his back to 
it. "Bless me! why, surely that is your 
brother !" exclaimed the former to the latter, 
who looked eagerly round, his brother being 
then, as he believed, in England. By this 
time, the figure having passed the spot where 
the officers were sitting, presented only his 
back to them. " No," replied the second, 
" that is not my brother's regiment ; that's the 
uniform of the Rifle Brigade. By heavens ! it 
is my brother, though ;" he added, starting up, 
and eagerly pursuing the stranger, who at 
that moment turned his head and looked at 
him, and then, somehow, strangely disappeared 
amongst the people standing at the messman's 
end of the room. Supposing he had gone out 
that way, the brother pursued him, but he was 
not to be found ; neither had the messman, nor 
any body there, observed him. The young 
man died at that time in England, having just 
exchanged into the Rifle Brigade. 

VOL. i. Y 


I could fill pages with similar instances, not 
to mention those recorded in other collections 
and in history. The case of Lord Balcarres 
is perhaps worth alluding to, from its being so 
perfectly well established. Nobody has ever 
disputed the truth of it, only they get out of 
the difficulty by saying that it was a spectral 
illusion 1 Lord B. was in confinement in the 
castle of Edinburgh, under suspicion of Jaco- 
bitism, when one morning, whilst lying in bed, 
the curtains were drawn aside by his friend, 
Viscount Dundee, who looked upon him stead- 
fastly, leaned for some time on the mantle - 
piece and then walked out of the room. Lord B. 
not supposing that what he saw was a spectre, 
called to Dundee to come back and speak to 
him, but he was gone; and shortly afterwards 
the news came that he had fallen about that 
same hour at Killicranky. 

Finally, I have met with three instances of 
persons who are so much the subjects of this 
phenomenon, that they see the wraith of most 
persons that dies belonging to them, and fre- 
quently of those who are merely accuiaintance. 
They see the person as if he were alive, and 
unless they know him positively to be else- 
where, they have no suspicion but that it is 
himself, in the flesh, that is before them, till 


the sudden disappearance of the figure brings 
the conviction. Sometimes, as in the case of 
Mr. C. F. above alluded to, no suspicion arises, 
till the news of the death arrives, and they 
mention, without reserve, that they have met 
so and so, but he did not stop to speak, and so 

On- other occasions, however, the circum- 
stances of the appearance are such, that the 
seer is instantly aware of its nature. In the 
first place, the time and locality may produce 
the conviction. 

Mrs. J. wakes her husband in the night, and 
tells him she has just seen her father pass 
through the room she being in the West 
Indies and her father in England. He died 
that night. Lord T. being at sea, on his way 
to Calcutta, saw his wife enter his cabin. 

Mrs. Mac..., of Sky, went from Lynedale 
where she resided, to pay a visit in Perthshire. 
During her absence, there was a ball given at 
L. ; and when it was over, three young ladies, 
two of them her daughters, assembled in their 
bedroom to talk over the evening's amusement. 
Suddenly, one of them cried, " O God ! my 
mother." They all saw her pass across the 
room towards a chest of drawers, where she 
vanished. They immediately told their friends 


what they had seen ; and afterwards learnt 
that the lady died that night. 

Lord M. being from home, saw Lady M., 
whom he had left two days before, perfectly 
well, standing at the foot of his bed ; aware 
of the nature of the appearance, but wishing 
to satisfy himself that it was not a mere spectral 
illusion, he called his servant, who slept in the 
dressing-room, and said to him, " John, who's 
that ?" " It's my lady !'' replied the man. Lady 
M. had been seized with inflammation and died 
after a few hours illness. This circumstance 
awakened so much interest at the time, that I 
am informed by a member of the family, George 
theThird was not satisfied without hearing the 
particulars both from Lord M. and the ser- 
vant, also. 

But, besides time and locality, there are 
very frequently other circumstances accom- 
panying the appearance, which not only show 
the form to be spectral, but also make known 
to the seer the nature of the death that has 
taken place. 

A lady, with whose family I am acquainted, 
had a son abroad. One night she was lying 
in bed, with a door open which led into an 
adjoining room, where there was a fire. She 
had not been to sleep, when she saw her son 


cross this adjoining room and approach the 
fire, over which he leant, as if very cold. She 
saw that he was shivering and dripping wet- 
She immediately exclaimed, " That's my 
G. !" The figure turned its face round, looked 
at her sadly, and disappeared. That same night 
the young man was drowned. 

Mr. P., the American manager, in one of his 
voyages to England, being in bed, one night, 
between sleeping and waking, was disturbed 
by somebody coming into his cabin, dripping 
with water. He concluded that the person 
had fallen overboard, and asked him why he 
came there to disturb him, when there were 
plenty of other places for him to go to ? The 
man muttered something indistinctly, and Mr. 
P. then perceived that it was his own brother. 
This roused him completely, and feeling quite 
certain that somebody had been there, he got 
out of bed to feel if the carpet was wet on 
the spot where his brother stood. It was not, 
however; and when he questioned his ship- 
mates, the following morning, they assured 
him that nobody had been overboard, nor had 
anybody been in his cabin. Upon this, he 
noted down the date and the particulars of the 
event, and, on his arrival at Liverpool, sent - 
the paper sealed, to a friend in London, de- 
Y 5 


siring it might not be opened till he wrote 
again. The Indian post, in due time, brought 
the intelligence that on that night Mr. P.'s 
brother was drowned. 

A similar case to this is that of Captain 
Kidd, which Lord Byron used to say he heard 
from Captain K. himself. He was, one night 
awakened in his hammock, by feeling some- 
thing heavy lying upon him. He opened his 
eyes, and saw, or thought he saw, by the in- 
distinct light in the cabin, his brother, in 
uniform, lying across the bed. Concluding 
that this was only an illusion arising out of 
some foregone dream, he closed his eyes again 
to sleep ; but again he felt the weight, and 
there was the form still lying across the bed. 
He now stretched out his hand, and ielt the 
uniform, which was quite wet. Alarmed, he 
called out for somebody to come to him ; and, 
as one of the officers entered, the figure dis- 
appeared. He afterwards learnt, that his 
brother was drowned on that night in the 
Indian Ocean. 

Ben Jonson told Drummond, of Hawthorn- 
den, that, being at Sir Robert Cotton's house, 
in the country, with old Cambden, he saw, in 
a vision, his eldest son, then a child at Lon- 
don, appear to him with a mark of a bloody 


cross on his forehead ; at which, amazed, he 
prayed to God ; and, in the morning 1 , mentioned 
the circumstance to Mr. Cambden, who per- 
suaded him it was fancy. In the mean time, 
came letters announcing that the boy had died 
of the plague. The custom of indicating an 
infected house by a red cross, is here suggested ; 
the cross, apparently, symbolizing the manner 
of the death. 

Mr. S. C. a gentleman of fortune, had a 
son in India. One fine calm summer's morning, 
in the year 1780, he and his wife were sitting 
at breakfast, when she aiose and went to the 
window ; upon which, turning his eyes in the 
same direction, he started up and followed her, 
saying, "My dear, do you see that ?" "Surely," 
she replied, " it is our son. Let us go to him !" 
As she was very much agitated, however, he 
begged her to sit down and recover herself ; 
and when they looked again, the figure was gone. 
The appearance was that of their son, precisely 
as they had last seen him. They took note of 
the hour, and afterwards learnt that he had 
died in India at that period. 

A lady, with whose family I am acquainted, 
was sitting with her son, named Andrew, when 
she suddenly exclaimed that she had seen him 
pass the window, in a white mantle. As the 


window was high from the ground, and over- 
hung a precipice, no one could have passed ; 
else, she said, " Had there been a path, and he 
not beside her at the moment, she should have 
thought he had walked by on stilts." Three 
days afterwards, Andrew was seized with a 
fever which he had caught from visiting some 
sick neighbours ; and expired after a short 

In 1807, when several people were killed in 
consequence of a false alarm of fire, at Sadler's 
Wells, a woman named Price, in giving her 
evidence at the inquest, said, that her little 
girl had gone into the kitchen about half-past 
ten o'clock, and was surprised to see her brother 
there, whom she supposed to be at the Theatre. 
She spoke to him ; whereupon, he disappeared. 
The child immediately told her mother, who, 
alarmed, set off to the theatre and found the 
boy dead. 

In the year 1813, a young lady in Berlin, 
whose intended husband was with the army 
at Dusseldorf, heard some one knock at the 
door of her chamber, and her lover entered in 
a white neglige, stained with blood. Thinking 
that this vision proceeded from some disorder 
in herself, she arose and quitted the room to 
call the servant; who not being at hand, she 


returned, and found the figure there still. She 
now became much alarmed, and having- men- 
tioned the circumstance to her father, enquiries 
were made of some prisoners that were march- 
ing- through the town, and it was ascertained, 
that the young man had been wounded and 
had been carried to the house of Dr. Ehrlick, 
in Leipsick, with great hopes of recoveiy. It 
afterwards proved, howevei, that he had died 
at that period, and that his last thoughts were 
with her. This lady earnestly wished and 
prayed for another such visit ; but she never 
saw him again. 

In the same year, a woman in Bavaria, who 
had a brother with the army in Russia, was 
one day at field-work, on the skirts of a forest, 
and everything- quiet around her, when she 
repeatedly felt herself hit by small stones, 
though, on looking round, she could see no- 
body. At length, supposing it was some jest, 
she threw down her implements and stept into 
the wood whence they had proceeded, when 
she saw a headless figure, in a soldier's mantle, 
leaning against a tree. Afraid to approach, 
she summoned some labourers from a neigh- 
bouring field, who also saw it ; but on going 
up to it, it disappeared. The woman declared 
her conviction that the circumstance indicated 


her brother's death ; and it was afterwards 
ascertained that he had, on that day, fallen 
in a trench. 

Some few years ago, a Mrs. H., residing in 
Limerick, had a servant whom she much 
esteemed, called Nelly Haulon. Nelly was a 
very steady person, who seldom asked for a 
holiday, and consequently Mrs. H. was the 
less disposed to refuse her, when she requested 
a day's leave of absence for the purpose of 
attending a fair, that was to take place a few 
miles off. The petition was therefore favorably 
heard, but when Mr. H. came home and was 
informed of Nelly's proposed excursion, he 
said she could not be spared, as he had invited 
some people to dinner for that day, and he had 
nobody he could trust with the keys of the 
cellar except Nelly ; adding, that it was not 
likely his business would allow him to get 
home time enough tobring up the wine himself. 

Unwilling, however, after giving her con- 
sent, to disappoint the girl, Mrs. H. said that 
she would herself undertake the cellar depart- 
ment on the day in question ; so when the 
wished for morning arrived, Nelly departed in 
great spirits, having faithfully promised to re- 
turn that night, if possible, or at the latest, the 
following morning. 


The day passed as usual and nothing was 
thought about Nelly, till the time arrived for 
fetching up the wine, when Mrs. H, proceeded 
to the cellar stairs with the key, followed by a 
servant carrying a bottle-basket. She had, 
however, scarcely begun to descend when she 
uttered a loud scream and dropt down in a 
state of insensibility. She was carried up 
stairs and laid upon the bed, whilst, to the 
amazement of the other servants, the girl who 
had accompanied her, said, that they had seen 
Nelly Hanlon, dripping with water, standing 
at the bottom of the stairs. Mr. H. being 
sent for, or coming home at the moment, this 
story was repeated to him ; whereupon he re- 
proved the woman for her folly ; and, proper 
restoratives being applied, Mrs. H. at length 
began to revive. As she opened her eyes, she 
heaved a deep sigh saying, " Oh, Nelly Han- 
lon," and as soon as she was sufficiently re- 
covered to speak, she corroborated what the 
girl had said ; she had seen Nelly at the foot 
of the cellar stairs, dripping as if she had just 
come out of the water. Mr. H. used his ut- 
most efforts to persuade his wife out of what 
he looked upon to be an illusion ; but in vain. 
" Nellj," said he, " will come home by and 

2o*2 .WRAITHS. 

by and laugh at you," whilst she, on the con- 
trary, felt sure that Nelly was dead. 

The night came, and the morning came, but 
there was no Nelly. When two or three days 
had passed, enquiries were made; and it was 
ascertained that she had been seen at the fair, 
and had started to return home in the even- 
ing ; but from that moment all traces of her 
were lost, till her body was ultimately found 
in the river. How she came by her death, 
was never known. Now, in most of these 
cases, which I have above detailed, the person 
was seen where his dying thoughts might 
naturally be supposed to have flown, and the 
visit seems to have been made either imme- 
diately before or immediately after the disso- 
lution of the body ; in either case we may 
imagine that the final parting of the spirit had 
taken place, even if the organic life was not 
quite extinct. I have met with some cases in 
which we are not loft in any doubt, with re- 
spect to what were the last wishes of the 
dying person : for example, a lady, with 
whom I am acquainted, was on her way to 
India, when near the end of her voyage, she 
was one night awakened by a rustling in her 
cabin, and a consciousness that there was some- 
thing hovering about her. She sat up, and 


saw a bluish cloudy form moving away ; but 
persuading herself it must be fancy, she ad- 
dressed herself again -to sleep; but as soon as 
she lay down, she both heard and felt the 
same thing : it seemed to her as if this cloudy 
form hung over and enveloped her. Overcome 
with horror, she screamed. The cloud then 
moved away, assuming distinctly a human 
shape. The people about her naturally per- 
suaded her that she had been dreaming ; and 
she wished to think so ; but when she arrived 
in India, the first thing she heard was, that a 
very particular friend had come down to Cal- 
cutta to be ready to receive her on her landing, 
but that he had been taken ill and died, say- 
ing, he only wished to live to see his old friend 
once more. He had expired on the night she 
saw the shadowy form in her room. 

A very frightful instance of this kind of 
phenomenon is related by Dr. H. Werner, of 
Baron Emilius von O. This young man had 
been sent to prosecute his studies in Paris; 
but forming some bad connexions, he became 
dissipated, and neglected them. His father's 
counsels were unheeded, and his letters re- 
mained unanswered. One day the young baron 
was sitting alone on a seat, in the Bois de 
Boulogne, and had fallen somewhat into a reve- 

VOL. i. z 


rie, when, onraisinghis eyes, he saw his father's 
form before him. Believing 1 it to be a mere spec- 
tral illusion, he struck at the shadow with his 
riding-whip, upon which it disappeared. The 
next day brought him a letter urging his 
return home instantly, if he wished to see his 
parent alive. He went, but found the old man 
already in his grave. The persons who had 
been about him said, that he had been quite 
conscious, and had a great longing to see his 
son ; he had, indeed, exhibited one symptom 
of delirium, which was, that after expressing 
this desire, he had suddenly exclaimed, " My 
God ! he is striking at me with his riding- 
whip 1" and immediately expired. In this 
case, the condition of the dying man resembles 
that of a somnambulist, in which the patient 
describes what he sees taking place at a dis- 
tance; and the archives of magnetism furnish 
some instances, especially that of Auguste 
Miiller, of Karlsruhe, in which, by the force 
of will, the sleeper has not only been able to 
bring intelligence from a distance, but also, like 
the American magician, to make himself 
visible. The faculties of prophecy and clear 
or far-seeing, frequently disclosed by dying 
persons, is fully acknowledged by Dr. Aber- 
crombie, and other physiologists. 


Mr. F. saw a female relative, one night, by 
his bed-side. Thinking it was a trick of some 
one to frighten him, he struck at the figure ; 
whereon she said, "What have I done? I 
know I should have told it you before." This 
lady was dying at a distance, earnestly de- 
siring to speak to Mr. F, before she departed. 

I will conclude this chapter with the follow- 
ing extract from "Lockhart's Life of Scott": 

"Walter Scott to Daniel Terry, April 30, 
1818. (The new house at Abbotsford being 
then in progress, Scott living in an older 
part, close adjoining.) 

* The exposed state of my 

house has led to a mysterious disturbance. 
The night before last we were awakened by a 
violent noise, like drawing heavy boards along 
the new part of the house. I fancied some- 
thing had fallen, and thought no more about 
it. This was about two in the morning. 
Last night, at the same witching hour, the 
very same noise occurred. Mrs. S., as you 
know, is rather timbersome ; so up I got, with 
Beardie's broad sword under my arm 

" Bolt upright, 
And ready to fight." 


But nothing was out of order, neither can I 
discover what occasioned the disturbance. 

Mr. Lockhart adds, " On the morning that 
Mr. Terry received the foregoing letter, in 
London, Mr. William Erskine was breakfast- 
ing w r ith him, and the chief subject of their 
conversation was the sudden death of George 
Bullock, which had occurred on the same 
night, and, as nearly as they could ascertain, 
at the very hour when Scott was roused from 
his sleep by the ' mysterious disturbance' 
here described. This coincidence, when 
Scott received Erskine's minute detail of what 
had happened in Tenterd on -street (that is the 
death of Bullock, who had the charge of fur- 
nishing the new rooms at Abbotsford), made a 
much stronger impression on his mind than 
might be gathered from the tone of an ensuing 

It appears that Bullock had been at Abbots- 
ford, and made himself a great favourite with 
old and young. Scott, a week or two after- 
wards, wrote thus to Terry, " Were you not 
struck with the fantastical coincidence of our 
nocturnal disturbances at Abbotsford, with the 
melancholy event that followed ? I protest 
to you, the noise resembled half-a-do/.en men 

WRAITHS. 257' 

hard at work, putting up boards and furni- 
ture ; and nothing can be more certain than 
that there was nobody on the premises at the 
time. With a few additional touches, the 
story would figure in Glanville or Aubrey's 
collection. In the mean time, you may set it 
down with poor Dubisson's warnings, as a 
remarkable coincidence coming under your 
own observation." 

z o 



IN the instances detailed in the last chapter 
the apparition has shown itself, as nearly as 
conld be discovered, at the moment of dissolu- 
tion ; but there are many cases in which the 
wraith is seen at an indefinite period before or 
after the catastrophe. Of these, I could quote 
a great number, but as they generally resolve 
themselves into simply seeing a person where 
they were not, and death ensuing very shortly 
afterwards, a few will suffice. 

There is a very remarkable story of this 
kind, related by Macnish, which he calls " a 


case of hallucination, arising without the indi- 
vidual being conscious of any physical cause 
by which it might be occasioned." If this case 
stood alone, strange as it is, I should think so, 
too ; but when similar instances abound, as 
they do, I cannot bring myself to dispose of it 
so easily. The story is as follows : Mr. H. 
was one day walking along the street, appa- 
rently in perfect health, when he saw, or sup- 
posed he saw, his acquaintance, Mr. C., 
walking before him. He called to him, aloud, 
but he did not seem to hear him, and con- 
tinued moving on. Mr. H. then quickened 
his pace for the purpose of overtaking him, 
but the other increased his, also, as if to keep 
ahead of his pursuer, and proceeded at such a 
rate that Mr. H. found it impossible to make 
up to him. This continued for some time, till, 
on Mr. C. reaching a gate, he opened it and 
passed in, slamming it violently in Mr. H/s 
face. Confounded at such treatment from a 
friend, the latter instantly opened the gate, and 
looked down the long lane into which it led, 
where, to his astonishment, no one was to be 
seen. Determined to unravel the mystery, he 
then went to Mr. C.'s house, and his surprise 
was great to hear that he was confined to his 
bed, and had been so for several davs. A 


week or two afterwards, these gentlemen met 
at the house of a common friend, when Mr. H. 
related the circumstance, jocularly telling Mr. 
C. that, as he had seen his wraith, he of course 
could not live long. The person addressed, 
laughed heartily, as did the rest of the party ; 
but in a few days, Mr. C. was attacked with 
putrid sore throat, and died ; and, within a, 
short period of his death, Mr. H. was also in 
the grave. 

This is a very striking case : the hastening 
on and the actually opening and shutting the 
gate, evincing not only will but power to pro- 
duce mechanical effects, at a time the person 
was bodily elsewhere. It is true he was ill, 
and, it is highly probable, was at the time 
asleep. The showing himself to Mr. H., who 
was so soon to follow him to the grave, is 
another peculiarity which appears frequently 
to attend these cases, and which seems like 
what was in old English, and is still, in Scotch, 
called a tryst an appointment to meet again 
betwixt those spirits, so soon to be free. Sup- 
posing Mr. C. to have been asleep, he was 
possibly, in that state, aware of what impended 
over both. 

There is a still more remarkable case, given 
by Mr. Barnaul, in his reminiscences. I have 


no other authority for it ; but he relates, as a 
fact, that a respectable young woman was 
awaked, one night, by hearing somebody in 
her room, and that on looking up, she saw a 
young man, to whom she was engaged. 
Extremely offended by such an intrusion, she 
bade him instantly depart, if he wished her 
ever to speak to him again. Whereupon, he 
bade her not be frightened ; but said he was 
come to tell her that he was to die that day 
six weeks, and then disappeared. Having 
ascertained that the young man himself 
could not possibly have been in her room, 
she was naturally much alarmed, and, her 
evident depression leading to some enquiries, 
she communicated what had occurred to the 
family with whom she lived I think as dairy- 
maid ; but I quote from memory. They at- 
tached little importance to what seemed so 
improbable, more especially as the young man 
continued in perfectly good health, and entirely 
ignorant of this prediction, which his mistress 
had the prudence to conceal from him. When 
the fatal d*y arrived, these ladies saw the girl 
looking very cheerful, as they were going for 
their morning's ride, and observed to each 
other that the prophecy did not seem likely to 
be fulfilled ; but when they returned, they saw 


her running up the avenue towards the house, 
in great agitation, and learned that her lover 
was either dead, or dying, I think, in conse- 
sequence of an accident. 

The only key I can suggest as the expla- 
nation of such a phenomenon as this, is, that 
the young man, in his sleep, was aware of the 
fate that awaited him; and that whilst his 
body lay in his bed, in a state approaching to 
trance or catalepsy, the freed spirit free as 
the spirits of the actual dead went forth to 
tell the tale to the mistress of his soul. 

Franz von Baader, says in a letter to Dr. 
Kemer, that Eckartshausen, shortly before his 
death, assured him that he possessed the power 
of making a person's double or wraith appear, 
whilst his body lay elsewhere, in a state of 
trance or catalepsy. He added that the ex^ 
periment might be dangerous, if care were not 
taken to prevent intercepting the rapport of 
the etherial form with the material one. 

A lady, an entire disbeliever in these spiri- 
tual phenomena, was one day walking in her 
own garden with her husband, who was indis- 
posed, leaning on her arm, when seeing a man 
with his back towards them, and a spade in 
bishand,digging,she exclaimed, "Look there ! 
Who's that r" " Where ?" said her companion ; 


and at that moment, the figure leaning on the 
spade, turned round, and looked at her, sadly 
shaking its head ; and she saw it was her hus- 
band. She avoided an explanation, by pre- 
tending she had made a mistake. Three days 
afterwards the gentleman died ; leaving her 
entirely converted to a belief she had previously 
scoffed at. 

Here, again, the foreknowledge and evident 
design, as well as the power of manifesting it, 
is extremely curious. More especially, as the 
antitype of the figure was neither in a trance 
nor asleep, but perfectly conscious, walking 
and talking. If any particular purpose were 
to be gained, by the information indicated, the 
solution might be less difficult. One object, 
it is true, may have been, and indeed, was 
attained, namely, the change in the opinions 
of the wife ; and it is impossible to say, what 
influence such a conversion may have had on 
her after life. 

It must be admitted that these cases are 
very perplexing. We might, indeed, get rid 
of them by denying them, but the instances are 
too numerous, and the phenomenon has been 
too well known in all ages to be set aside so 
easily. In the above examples the apparition, 
or wraith, has been in some way connected 


with the death of the person whose visionary 
likeness is seen ; and, in most of these in- 
stances, the earnest longing to behold those be- 
loved, seems to have been the means of effect- 
ing the object. The mystery of death is to 
us so awful and impenetrable, and we know so 
little of the mode in which the spiritual and 
the corporeal are united and kept together 
during the continuance of life, or what con- 
dition may ensue when this connexion is about 
to be dissolved, that whilst we look with 
wonder upon such phenomena as these above 
alluded to, we yet find very few persons who are 
disposed to reject them as utterly apocryphal. 
They feel that in that department, already so 
mysterious, there may exist a greater mystery 
still ; and the very terror with which the 
thoughts of present death inspires most minds, 
deters people from treating this class of facts 
with that scornful scepticism with which many 
approximate ones are denied and laughed at. 
Nevertheless, if we suppose the person to have 
been dead, though it be but an inappreciable 
instant of time, before he appears, the appear- 
ance comes under the denomination of what 
is commonly called a ghost; for, whether the 
spirit has been parted from the body one 
second or fifty years, ought to make no differ- 


ence in our appreciation of ttie fact, nor is the 
difficulty less in one case than the other. 

I mention this, because I have met with, 
and do meet with, people constantly, who 
admit this class of facts, whilst they declare 
they cannot believe in ghosts ; the instances, 
they say, of people being- seen at a distance at 
the period of their death, are too numerous to 
permit of the fact being denied. In granting 
it, however, they seem to me to grant every- 
thing. If. as I have said above, the person be 
dead, the form seen is a ghost or spectre, 
whether he has been dead a second or a 
century; if he be alive, the difficulty is cer- 
tainly not diminished, on the contrary, it 
appears to me to be considerably augmented ; 
and it is to this perplexing class of facts I 
shall next proceed ; namely, those in which 
the person is not only alive, as in some of the 
cases above related, but where the phenomenon 
seems to occur without any reference to the 
death of the subject, present or prospective. 

In either case, we are forced to conclude 
that the thing seen is the same ; the ques- 
tions are, what is it that we see, and how does 
it render itself visible ; and, still more difficult 
to answer, appears the question, of how it can 
communicate intelligence, or exert a mechani- 

VOL. i. 2 A 


cal force. As, however, this investigation will 
be more in its place when I have reached that 
department of my subject commonly called 
ghosts, I will defer it for the present, and 
merely confine myself to that of Doubles, or 
Doppelgangers, as the Germans denominate 
the appearance of a person out of his body. 

In treating of the case of Auguste Muller, a 
remarkable sonmambule, who possessed the 
power of appearing elsewhere, whilst his body 
lay cold and stiff" in his bed. Professor Kieser, 
who attended him, says, that the phenomenon, 
as regards the seer, must be looked upon as 
purely subjective that is, that there was no 
outstanding form of Auguste Muller visible 
to the sensuous organs, but that the magnetic 
influence of the sonmambule, by the force of 
his will, acted on the imagination of the seer, 
and called up the image which he believed he 
saw. But then, allowing this to be possible, 
as Dr. Werner sajs, how are we to account 
for those numerous eases in which there is no 
fcomnambule concerned in the matter, and no 
especial rapport, that we are aware of, esta- 
blished betwixt the parties ? And yet these 
latter cases are much the most frequent ; for, 
although I have met with numerous instances 
recorded by the German physiologists of what 



is called far-working on the part of their som- 
nambtiles, this power of appearing out of the 
body seems to be a very rare one. Many 
persons will be surprised at these allusions to 
a kind of magnetic phenomena, of which, in 
this country, so little is known or believed ; but 
the physiologists and psychologists of Ger- 
many have been studying this subject for the 
last fifty years, and the volumes filled with 
their theoretical views and records of cases, 
are numerous beyond anything the English 
public has an idea of. 

The only other theory I have met with, 
which pretends to explain the mode of this 
double appearance, is that of the spirit leav- 
ing the body, as we have supposed it to do in 
cases of dreams and catalepsy ; in which in- 
stances, the nerve-spirit, which seems to be the 
archaeus or astral spirit of the ancient philoso- 
phers, has the power of projecting a visible 
body out of the imponderable matter of the 
atmosphere. According to this theory, this 
nerve-spirit, which seems to be an embodi- 
ment of or rather, a body constructed out of 
the nervous fluid, or ether in short, the 
spiritual body of St. Paul, is the bond of 
union betwixt the body and the soul, or spirit; 
and has the plastic force of raising up an- 


aerial form. Being the highest organic power, 
it cannot by any other, physical or chemical, 
be destroyed ; and when the body is cast off, 
it follows the soul ; and as, during life, it is 
the means by which the soul acts upon the 
body, and is thus enabled to communicate with 
the external world, so when the spirit is dis- 
embodied, it is through this nerve-spirit, that 
it can make itself visible, and even exercise 
mechanical powers. 

It is certain, that not only somnambules, 
but sick persons, are occasionally sensible of a 
feeling that seems to lend some countenance to 
this latter theory. 

The girl at Canton, for example, mentioned 
in a former chapter, as well as many somnam- 
bulic patients, declare, whilst their bodies are 
lying stiff and cold, that they see it, as if out 
of it ; and, in some instances, they describe 
particulars of its appearance, which they could 
not see in the ordinary way. There are also 
numerous cases of sick persons seeing them- 
selves double, where no tendency to delirium 
or spectral illusion had been observed. These 
are, in this country, always placed under the 
latter category ; but I find various instances 
recorded by the German physiologists, where 
this appearance has been seen by others, and 


even by children, at the same time that it was 
felt by the invalid. In one of these cases, I 
find the sick person saying, " I cannot think, 
how I am lying. It seems to me that I am 
divided and lying in two places at once." It 
is remarkable, that a friend of my own, during 
an illness in the autumn of 1845, expressed 
precisely the same feeling ; we however, saw 
nothing of this second ego ; but it must be re- 
membered, that the seeing these things, as I 
have said in a former chapter, probably de- 
pends on a peculiar faculty or condition of the 
seer. The servant of Elisha was not blind, 
but yet he could not see what his master saw, 
till his eyes were opened that is, till he was 
rendered capable of perceiving spiritual ob- 

When Peter was released from prison by the 
angel and it is not amiss here to remark, that 
even he " wist not that it was true which was 
done by the angel, but thought he saw a 
vision," that is, he did not believe his senses, 
but supposed himself the victim of a spectral 
illusion but when he was released, and went 
and knocked at the door of the gate, where 
many of his friends were assembled, they not 
conceiving it possible he could have escaped, 
said, when the girl who had opened the door, 
2 A 5 


insisted that he was there, " It is his angel." 
What did they mean by this ? The expression 
is not an angel, but /*/* angel. Now, it is not 
a little remarkable, that in the East, to this 
day, a double, or doppleganger, is called a 
man's angel, or messenger. As we cannot 
suppose that this term was used otherwise 
than seriously by the disciples that were 
gathered together in Mark's house, for they 
were in trouble about Peter, and when he 
arrived were engaged in prayer, we are en- 
titled to believe that they alluded to some re- 
cognized phenomenon. They knew, either that 
the likeness of a man his spiritual self 
sometimes appeared where bodily he was 
not ; and that this imago or idolon was capable 
of exerting a mechanical force, or else that 
other spirits sometimes assumed a mortal 
form, or they would not have supposed it to 
be Peter's angel that had knocked at the gate. 
Dr. Ennemoser, who always leans to the 
physical, rather than the psychical explanation 
of a phenomenon, says, that the faculty of 
self-seeing, which is analogous to seeing 
another person's double, is to be considered 
an illusion ; but that this imago of another 
seen at a distance, at the moment of death, 
must be supposed to have an objective reality 


But if we are capable of thus perceiving the 
imago of another person, I cannot comprehend 
why we may not see our own ; unless, indeed, 
the former was never perceived, hut when the 
body of the person seen, was in a state of in- 
sensibility ; but this does not always seem to 
be a necessary condition, as will appear by 
some examples I ain about to detail. The 
faculty of perceiving- the object,Dr. Ennemoser 
considers analogous to that of second sight, 
and thinks it may be evolved by local, as well 
as idiosyncratical, conditions. The difficulty 
arising from the fact,that some persons are in the 
habit of seeing the wraiths of their friends and 
relations must be explained by his hypothesis. 
The spirit, as soon as liberated from the body, 
is adapted for communion with all spirits ; 
embodied or otherwise, but all embodied spirits 
are not prepared for communion with it. 

A Mr. R., a gentleman who has attracted 
public attention by some scientific discoveries, 
had had a fit of illness at Rotterdam. He 
was in a state of convalescence, but was still 
so far taking care of himself as to spend part 
of the day in bed, when, as he was lying there 
one morning, the door opened, and there en- 
tered, in tears, a lady with whom he was inti- 
mately acquainted, but whom at the time he 


believed to be in England. She walked has- 
tily up to the side of his bed, wrung her hands, 
evincing by her gestures extreme anguish of 
mind, and before he could sufficiently recover 
his surprise to enquire the cause of her dis- 
tress and sudden appearance, she was gone. 
She did not disappear, but walked out of the 
room again, and Mr. R. immediately sum- 
moned the servants of the hotel, for the pur- 
pose of making enquiries about the English 
lady when she came, what had happened 
to her, and where she had gone to, on quitting 
his room ? The people declared there was no 
such person there ; he insisted there was, but 
they at length convinced him that they, at 
least, knew nothing about her. When his 
physician visited him, he naturally expressed 
the great perplexity into which he had been 
thrown by this circumstance : and, as the 
doctor could find no symptoms about his 
patient that could warrant a suspicion of spec- 
tral illusion, they made a note of the date and 
hour of the occurrence, and Mr. R. took the 
earliest opportunity of ascertaining if anything 
had happened to the lady in question. No- 
thing had happened to herself, but at that 
precise period her son had expired, and she 
was actuallv in the state of distress in which 


Mr. R. beheld her. It would be extremely 
interesting to know whether her thoughts had 
been very intensely directed to Mr. R. at the 
moment ; but that is a point which I have 
not been able to ascertain. At all events, the 
impelling cause of the form projected, be the 
mode of it what it may, appears to have been 
violent emotion. The following circumstance, 
which is forwarded to me by the gentleman 
to whom it occurred, appears to have the same 
origin : 

" On the evening of the 12th of March, 1792," 
says Mr. H., an artist, and a man of science, "I 
had been reading in the 'Philosophical Transac- 
tions,' and retired to my room somewhat fatigued, 
but not inclined to sleep. It was a bright moon- 
light night, and I had extinguished my candle 
and was sitting on the side of the bed, deliber- 
rately taking off my clothes, when I was 
amazed to behold the visible appearance of 
my half-uncle, Mr. R. Roberston, standing be- 
fore me ; and, at the same instant, I heard the 
words, ' Twice will be sufficient ! ' The face 
was so distinct that I actually saw the pock- 
pits. His dress seemed to be made of a 
strong twilled sort of sackcloth, and of the 
same dingy colour. It was more like a 
woman's dress than a man's resembling a 


petticoat, the neck-band close to the chin, and 
the garment covering the whole person, so 
that I saw neither hands nor feet. Whilst the 
figure stood there, I twisted ray fingers till 
they cracked, that I might be sure I was 

" On the following morning, I enquired if 
anybody had heard lately of Mr. R., and was 
well laughed at when I confessed the origin of 
my enquiry. I confess I thought he was 
dead ; but when my grandfather heard the 
story, he said that the dress I described, re- 
sembled the straight-jacket Mr. R. had been 
put in formerly, under an attack of insanity. 
Subsequently, we learnt that on the night, 
and at the very hour I had seen him, he had 
attempted suicide, and been actually put into a 
straigh t-j acket. 

"He afterwards recovered, and went to Egypt 
with Sir Ralph Abercrombie. Some people 
laugh at this story, and maintain that it was a 
delusion of the imagination ; but surely this is 
blinking the question ! Why should my 
imagination create such an image, whilst my 
mind was entirely engrossed with a mathe- 
matical problem ?" 

The words " Twice will be sufficient" pro- 
bably embodied the thought, uttered or not, of 


the maniac, under the influence of his emotion 
two blows or two stabs would be sufficient 
for his purpose. 

Dr. Kerner relates a case of a Dr. John B., 
who was studying medicine in Paris, seeing 
his mother, one night, shortly after he had got 
into bed, and before he had put out his light. 
She was dressed after a fashion in which he 
had never seen her; but she vanished; and 
thus aware of the nature of the appearance, 
he became much alarmed, and wrote home to 
enquire after her health. The answer he re- 
ceived was, that she was extremely unwell, 
having been under the most intense anxiety 
on his account, from hearing that several me- 
dical students in Paris had been arrested as 
resurrectionists ; and, knowing his passion for 
anatomical investigations, she had appre- 
hended he might be amongst the number. 
The letter concluded with an earnest request 
that he would pay her a visit. He did so, and 
his surprise was so great on meeting her, to 
perceive that she was dressed exactly as he 
had seen her in his room at Paris, that he 
could not, at first, embrace her, and was 
obliged to explain the cause of his astonish- 
ment and repugnance. 

An analogous case to these is that of Dr. 


Donne, which is already mentioned in so 
many publications, that I should not allude to 
it here, but for the purpose of showing that 
these examples belong to a class of facts, and 
that it is not to be supposed that similarity 
argues identity, or that one and the same story- 
is reproduced with new names and localities. 
I mention this, because when circumstances of 
this kind are related, I sometimes hear people 
say, " Oh, I have heard that story before, but 
it was said to have happened to Mr. So-and-so, 
or at such a place ; the truth being, that these 
things happen in all places, and to a great 
variety of people. 

Dr. Donne was with the embassy, in Paris, 
where he had been but a short time, when his 
friend Mr. Roberts entering the salon, found 
him in a state of considerable agitation. As 
soon as he was sufficiently recovered to speak, 
he said that his wife had passed twice through 
the room, with a dead child in her arms. An 
express was immediately dispatched to Eng- 
land to enquire for the lady, and the intelli- 
gence returned was, that, after much suffering, 
she had been delivered of a dead infant. The 
delivery had taken place at the time that her 
husband had seen her in Paris. Nobody has 
disputed Dr. Donne's assertion that he 


saw his wife, but, as usual, the case is crammed 
into the theory of spectral illusions. They 
say, Dr. Donne was naturally very anxious 
about his wife's approaching confinement, of 
which he must have been aware; and that his 
excited imagination did all the rest. In the 
first place, I. do not find it recorded that he 
was suffering- any particular anxiety on the 
subject ; and even if he were, the coincidences 
in time and in the circumstance of the dead 
child, remain unexplained. Neither are we 
led to believe that the doctor was unwell, or 
living the kind of life that is apt to breed 
thick-coming fancies. He was attached to the 
embassy in the gay city of Paris; he had just 
been taking luncheon with others of the mite, 
and had been left alone but a short time, when 
he was found in the state of amazement above 
described. If such extraordinary cases of 
spectral illusion as this, and many others I am 
recording, can suddenly arise in constitutions 
apparently healthy, it is certainly high time 
that the medical world reconsider the subject, 
and give us some more comprehensible theory 
of it; if they are not cases of spectral illusion, 
but are to be explained under that vague and 
abused term Imagination, let us be told some- 
thing more about Imagination a service 
VOL. r. 2 B 


which those who consider the word sufficient to 
account for these strange phenomena, must, of 
course, be qualified to perform. If, however, 
both these hypotheses for they are but simple 
hypotheses, unsupported by any proof what- 
ever, only being delivered with an air of 
authority in a rationalistic age, they have been 
allowed to pass unquestioned if, however, 
they are not found sufficient to satisfy a vast 
number of minds, which I know to be the 
case, I think the enquiry I am instituting can- 
not be wholly useless or unacceptable, let it 
lead us where it may. The truth is all I 
seek; and I think there is a very important 
truth to be educed from the further investiga- 
tion of this subject in its various relations in 
short, a truth of paramount importance to all 
others ; one which contains evidence of a fact, 
in which we are more deeply concerned than 
in any other ; and which, if well established, 
brings demonstration to confirm intuition and 
tradition. I am very well aware of all the 
difficulties in the way difficulties internal 
and external ; many inherent to the subject 
itself; and others extraneous, but inseparable 
from it ; and I am very far from supposing 
that my book is to settle the question, even 
with a single mind. All I hope or expect is, 


to show that the question is not disposed of yet, 
either by the rationalists or the physiologists ; 
and that it is still an open one ; and all I desire 
is, to arouse enquiry and curiosity ; and that 
thus some mind, better qualified than mine, to 
follow out the investigation, may be incited to 
undertake it. 

Dr. Kerner mentions the case of a lady, 
named Dillenius, who was awakened one 
night by her son, a child of six years of age ; 
her sister-in-law, who slept in the same room, 
also awakened at the same time, and all three 
saw Madame Dillenius enter the room, attired 
in a black dress, which she had lately bought. 
The sister said, " I see you double ! you are in 
bed, and yet you are walking about the room." 
They were both extremely alarmed, whilst the 
figure stood between the doors, in a melan- 
choly attitude, with the head leaning on the 
hand. The child, who also saw it, but seems 
not to have been terrified, jumped out of bed, 
and running to the figure, put his hand through 
it as he attempted to push it, exclaiming, " Go 
away, you black woman." The form, how- 
ever, remained as before ; and the child, be- 
coming alarmed, sprung into bed again. 
Madame Dillenius expected that the appear- 


ance foreboded her own death ; but that did 
not ensue. A serious accident immediately 
afterwards occurred to her husband, and she 
fancied there might be some connexion betwixt 
the two events. 

This is one of those cases that, from their 
extremely perplexing 1 nature, have induced 
some psychologists to seek an explanation in 
the hypothesis, that other spirits may for some 
purpose or under certain conditions, assume 
the form of a person with a view to giving- an 
intimation or impression, which the gulf sepa- 
rating the material from the spiritual world 
renders it difficult to convey. As regards such 
instances as that of Madame Dillenius, how- 
ever, we are at a loss to discover any motive 
unless, indeed, it be sympathy for such 
an exertion of power, supposing it to be pos- 
sessed ; but in the famous case of Catherine of 
Russia, who is said, whilst lying in bed, to 
have been seen by the ladies to enter the 
throne-room and being informed of the cir- 
cumstance, went herself and saw the figure 
seated on the throne, and bade her guards lire 
on it, we may conceive it possible that her 
guardian spirit, if such she had, might adopt 
this mode of warning her to prepare for a 


change, which, after such a life as hers, we 
are entitled to conclude, she was not very fit to 

There are numerous examples of similar 
phenomena to be met with. Professor Stilling 
relates that he heard from the son of a Madame 
M., that his mother, having sent her maid up 
stairs, on an errand, the woman came running 
down in a great fright, saying that her mistress 
was sitting above, in her arm-chair, looking 
precisely as she had left her below. The lady 
went up stairs, and saw herself as described by 
the woman, very shortly after which she died. 

Dr. Wernei relates, that a jeweller at Lud- 
wigsburg, named Ratzel, when in perfect 
health, one evening, on turning the comer of 
a street, met his own form, face to face ; the 
figure seemed as real and life-like as himself; 
and he was so close as to look into its very 
eyes. He was seized with terror, and it va- 
nished. He related the circumstance to several 
people, and endeavoured to laugh, but, never- 
theless, it was evident he was painfully im- 
pressed with it. Shortly afterwards, as he 
was passing through a forest, he fell in with 
some wood-cutters, who asked him to lend a 
hand to the ropes with which they were pull- 
2 B 5 


ing down an oak tree. He did so, and was 
killed by its fall. 

Becker, professor of mathematics at Rostock, 
having fallen into argument with some friends, 
regarding a disputed point of theology, on 
going to his library to fetch a book which he 
wished to refer to, saw himself sitting at the 
table in the seat he usually occupied. He ap- 
proached the figure, which appeared to be 
reading, and, looking over its shoulder, he 
observed that the book open before it was a 
Bible, and that, with one of the fingers of the 
right hand, it pointed to the passage, " Make 
ready thy house, for thou must die." He re- 
turned to the company, and related what he 
had seen, and, in spite of all their arguments 
to the contrary, remained fully persuaded that 
his death was at hand. He took leave of his 
friends, and expired on the following day, at 
six o'clock in the evening. He had already 
attained a considerable age. Those who 
would not believe in the appearance, said he 
had died of the fright; but, whether he did so 
or not, the circumstance is sufficiently remark- 
able ; and, if this were a real, outstanding ap- 
parition, it would go strongly to support the 
hypothesis alluded to above, whilst, if it were 


a spectral illusion, it is, certainly, an infinitely 
strange one. 

As I am aware how difficult it is, except 
where the appearance is seen by more persons 
than one, to distinguish case's of actual self- 
seeing from those of spectral illusion, I do not 
linger longer in this department, but, returning 
to the analogous subject of Doppelgangers, I 
will relate a few curious instances of this kind 
of phenomenon. 

Stilling relates, that a Government officer, 
of the name of Triplin, in Weimar, on going to 
his office to fetch a paper of importance, saw 
his own likeness sitting there, with the deed 
before him. Alarmed, he returned home, and 
desired his maid to go there and fetch the 
paper she would find on the table. The maid 
saw the same form, and imagined that her 
master had gone by another road, and got there 
before her ; his mind seems to have preceded 
his body. 

The Landrichter, or Sheriff F., in Frankfort, 
sent his secretary on an errand ; presently 
afterwards, the secretary re-entered the room, 
and laid hold of a book. His master asked 
him what had brought him back, whereupon 
the figure vanished, and the book fell to the 
ground, it was a volume of Linnaeus. In the 


evening, when the secretary returned, and was 
interrogated with regard to his expedition, he 
said that he had fallen into an eager dispute 
with an acquaintance, as he went along, about 
some botanical question, and had ardently 
wished he had had his Linnaeus with him to 
refer to. 

Dr. Werner relates, that Professor Happach 
had an elderly maid-servant, who was in the 
habit of coming every morning to call him, 
and on entering the room, which he generally 
heard her do, she usually looked at a clock 
which stood under the mirror. One morning, 
she entered so softly that though he saw her, 
he did not hear her foot ; she went, as was her 
custom, to the clock, and came to his bedside, 
but suddenly turned round and left the room. 
He called after her, but she not answering, he 
jumped out of bed and pursued her. He 
could not see her, however, till he reached her 
room, where he found her fast asleep in bed. 
Subsequently, the same thing occurred fre- 
quently with this woman. 

An exactly parallel case was related to me 
as occurring to himself, by a publisher in 
Edinburgh. His housekeeper \vas in the 
habit of calling him every morning. On one 
occasion, being perfectly awake, he saw her 


enter, walk to the window, and go out 
again without speaking. Being in the habit 
of fastening his door, he supposed he had 
omitted to do so ; but presently afterwards he 
heard her knocking to come in, and he found 
the door was still locked. She assured him 
she had not been there before. He was 
in perfectly good health at the time this 

Only a few nights since, a lady, with whom 
I am intimately acquainted, was in bed, and 
had not been to sleep, when she saw one of her 
daughters, who slept in an upper room, and 
who had retired to rest some time before, 
standing at the foot of her bed. " H /' she 
said, " what is the matter ? what are you 
come for ?" The daughter did not answer, but 
moved away. The mother jumped out of bed, 
but not seeing her, got in again : but the 
figure was still there. Perfectly satisfied it 
was really her daughter, she spoke to her, asking 
if anything had happened ; but again the figure 
moved silently away, and again the mother 
jumped out of bed, and actually went part of 
the way up stairs ; and this occurred a third 
time. The daughter was during the whole of 
this time asleep in her bed ; and the lady her- 
self is quite in her usual state of health ; not 


robust, but not by any means sickly, nor in 
the slightest degree hysterical or nervous ; yet, 
she is perfectly convinced that she saw the 
figure of her daughter on that occasion, though 
quite unable to account for the circumstance. 
Probably the daughter was dreaming of the 

Edward Stem, author of some German 
works, had a friend, who was frequently seen 
out of the body, as the Germans term it; and 
the father of that person was so much the sub- 
ject of this phenomenon, that he was fre- 
quently observed to enter his house, whilst he 
was yet working in the fields. His wife 
used to say to him, " Why, papa, you came 
home before ;" and he would answer, "I dare 
say ; I was so anxious to get away earlier, 
but it was impossible." 

The cook in a convent of nuns, at Ebers- 
dorf, was frequently seen picking herbs in the 
garden, when she was in the kitchen and 
much in need of them. 

A Danish Physician, whose name Dr. 
Werner does not mention, is said to have been 
frequently seen entering a patient's room, and 
on being spoken to, the figure would disappear, 
with a sigh. This used to occur when he had 
made an appointment which he was prevented 


keeping 1 , and was rendered uneasy by the 
failure. The hearing of it, however, occa- 
sioned him such an unpleasant sensation that 
he requested his patients never to tell him 
when it happened. 

A president of the Supreme Court, in Ulm, 
named Pfizer, attests the truth of the follow- 
ing case : A gentleman, holding an official 
situation, had a son at Gottingen, who wrote 
home to his father, requesting him to send him, 
without delay, a certain book, which he re- 
quired to aid him in preparing a dissertation 
lie was engaged in. The father answered, that 
he had sought but could not find the work, in 
question. Shortly afterwards, the latter had 
been taking a book from his shelves, when, 
on turning round, he beheld, to his amazement, 
his son just in the act of stretching up his 
hand towards one on a high shelf in another 
part of the room. "Hallo!" he exclaimed, 
supposing it to be the young man himself ; 
but the figure disappeared ; and, on examining 
the shelf, the father found there the book that 
was required, which he immediately forwarded 
to Gottingen ; but before it could arrive there, 
he received a letter from his son, describing 
the exact spot where it was to be found. 

A case of what is called spectral illusion 


is mentioned by Dr. Paterson, which appears 
to me to belong to the class of phenomena 
I am treating of. One Sunday evening, 
Miss N. was left at home, the sole inmate of 
the house, not being permitted to accompany 
her family to church, on account of her deli- 
cate state of health. Her father was an in- 
firm old man, who seldom went from home, 
and she was not aware whether, on this oc- 
casion, he had gone out with the rest or not. 
By and by, there came on a severe storm of 
thunder, lightning, and rain, and Miss N. 
is described as becoming very uneasy about 
her father. Under the influence of this feeling, 
Dr. Paterson says, she went into the back 
room, where he usually sat, and there saw him 
in his arm chair. Not doubting but it was 
himself, she advanced, and laid her hand upon 
his shoulder, but her hand encountered 
vacancy ; and, alarmed, she retired. As she 
quitted the room, however, she looked back, 
and there still sat the figure. Not being a 
believer in what is called the " supernatural," 
Miss N. resolved to overcome her appre- 
hensions, and return into the room, which she 
did, and saw the figure as before. For the 
space of fully half an hour she went in and 
out of the room in this manner, before it dis- 


appeared. She did not see it vanish, but the 
fifth time she returned, it was gone ; Dr. Pa- 
terson vouches for the truth of this story, and 
no doubt of its being a mere illusion occurs to 
him, though the lady had never before or since, 
as she assured him, been troubled with the 
malady. It seems to me much more likely 
that, when the storm came on, the thoughts 
of the old man would be intensely drawn 
homewards, he would naturally wish himself 
in his comfortable arm-chair, and knowing 
his young daughter to be alone, he would 
inevitably feel some anxiety about her, too. 
There was a mutual projection of their spirits 
towards each other ; and the one that was 
most easily freed from its bonds, was seen 
where in the spirit it actually was; for, as I 
have said above, a spirit out of the flesh, to 
whom space is annihilated, must be where its 
thoughts and affections are, for its thoughts 
and affections are itself. 

I observe that Sir David Brewster, and 
others, who have written on this subject, and 
who represent all these phenomena as images 
projected on the retina from the brain, dwell 
much on the fact that they are seen alike, 
whether the eye be closed or open. There are, 
however, two answers. to be made to this argu- 

VOL. i. 2 c 


ment ; first, that even if it were so, the proof 
would not be decisive ; since it is generally with 
closed eyes that somnambulic persons see 
whether natural somnambules or magnetic 
patients ; and, secondly, I find in some in- 
stances which appear to me to be genuine cases 
of an objective appearance, that where the 
experiment has been tried, the figure is not 
seen when the eyes are closed. 

The author of a work, entitled " An In- 
quiry into the Nature of Ghosts, who adopts 
the illusion theory, relates the following story, 
as one he can vouch for, though not permitted 
to give the names of the parties : 

" Miss , at the age of seven years, being 
in a field not far from her father's house, 
in the parish of Kirklinton, in Cumberland, 
saw what she thought was her father in the 
field, at a time that he was in bed, from which 
he had not been removed for a considerable 
period. There were in the field, also, at the 
same moment, George Little, and John, his 
fellow-servant. One of these cried out, " Go 
to your father, Miss !" She turned round, and 
the figure had disappeared. On returning home, 
she said, " Where is my father ?" The mother 
answered, " In bed, to be sure, child ;" out of 
which he had not been. 


I quote this case, because the figure was 
seen by two persons ; I could mention several 
similar instances, but when only seen by one* 
they are, of course, open to another ex- 

Goethe, whose family,by the way, were ghost- 
seers, relates, that as he was once in an un- 
easy state of mind, riding along the foot-path 
towards Drusenheim, he saw, " not with the 
eyes of his body, but with those of his spirit," 
himself on horseback coming towards him, in 
a dress that he then did not possess. It was 
grey, and trimmed with gold ; the figure dis- 
appeared ; but eight years afterwards he found 
himself, quite accidentally, on that spot, on 
horseback, and in precisely that attire." This 
seems to have been a case of second sight. 
The story of Byron's being seen in London 
when he was lying in a fever at Patras, is well 
known ; but may possibly have arisen from 
some extraordinary personal resemblance, 
though so firm was the conviction of its being 
his actual self that a bet of a hundred guineas 
was offered on it. 

Some time ago, the "Dublin University 
Magazine" related a case, I know not on what 
authority, as having occurred at Rome, to the 
effect, that a gentleman had, one night on 


going home to his lodging, thrown his servant 
into great amazement the man exclaiming, 
" Good Lord, sir ! you came home hefore ! " 
He declared that he had let his master into 
the house, attended him up stairs, and, I think, 
undressed him, and seen him get into bed. 
When they went to the room, they found no 
clothes ; but the bed appeared to have been 
lain in, and there was a strange mark upon the 
ceiling, as if from the passage of an elec- 
trical fluid. The only thing the young man 
could remember, whereby to account for this 
extraordinary circumstance was, that whilst 
abroad, and in company, he had been over- 
come with ennui, fallen into a deep reverie, and 
had for a time forgotten that he was not at 

When I read this story, though I have learnt 
from experience to be very cautious how I pro- 
nounce that impossible which I know nothing 
about, I confess it somewhat exceeded my re- 
ceptive capacity, but I have since heard of a 
similar instance, so well authenticated, that 
my incredulity is shaken. 

Dr. Kerner relates, that a canon of a catholic 
cathedral, of somewhat dissipated habits, on 
coming home one evening, saw a light in his 
bed-rooui. When the maid opened the door, 


she started back with surprise, whilst he en- 
quired why she had left a candle burning up 
stairs ; upon vyhich she declared, that he had 
come home just before, and gone to his room, 
and she had been wondering at his unusual 
silence. On ascending to his chamber, he 
saw himself sitting in the arm-chair. The 
figure arose, passed him, and went out at the 
room-door. He was extremely alarmed, ex- 
pecting his death was at hand. He, how- 
ever, lived many years afterwards, but the 
influence on his moral character was very 

Not long since, a professor, I think of 
theology, at a college at Berlin, addressed his 
class, saying, that, instead of his usual lec- 
ture, he should relate to them a circumstance 
which, the preceding evening, had occurred to 
himself, believing the effects would be no less 

He then told them that, as he was going 
home the last evening, he had seen his own 
imago, or double, on the other side of the 
street. He looked away, and tried to avoid 
it, but, finding it still accompanied him, he 
took a short cut home, in hopes of getting rid 
of it, wherein he succeeded, till he came oppo- 
2 c 5 


site his own house, when he saw it at the 

It rang, the maid opened, it entered, she 
handed it a candle, and, as the professor stood 
in amazement, on the other side of the street, 
he saw the light passing the windows, as it 
wound its way up to his own chamber. He 
then crossed over and rang ; the servant was 
naturally dreadfully alarmed on seeing him, 
but, without waiting to explain, he ascended 
the stairs. Just as he reached his own cham- 
ber, he heard a loud crash, and, on opening the 
door, they found no one there, but the ceiling 
had fallen in, and his life was thus saved. 
The servant corroborated this statement to 
the students ; and a minister, now attached to 
one of the Scotch churches, was present when 
the professor told his tale. Without admitting 
the doctrine of protecting spirits, it is difficult 
to account for these latter circumstances. 

A very interesting case of an apparent 
friendly intervention occurred to the celebrated 
Dr. A. T., of Edinburgh. He was sitting up 
late one night, reading in his study, when he 
heard a foot in the passage, and knowing the 
family were, or ought to be, all in bed, he rose 
and looked out to ascertain who it was, but, 
seeing nobody, lie sat down again. Presently, 


the sound recurred, and he was sure there 
was somebody, though he could not see him. 
The foot, however, evidently ascended the 
stairs, and he followed it, till it led him to the 
nursery door, which he opened, and found the 
furniture was on fire; and thus, but for this 
kind office of his good angel, his children 
would have been burnt in their beds. 

The most extraordinary history of this sort, 
however, with which I am acquainted, is 
the following, the facts of which are perfectly 
authentic : 

Some seventy or eighty years since, the 
apprentice, or assistant, of a respectable sur- 
geon in Glasgow, was known to have had an 
illicit connexion with a servant girl, who 
somewhat suddenly disappeared. No sus- 
picion, however, seems to have been enter- 
tained of foul play. It appears rather to have 
been supposed that she had retired for the 
purpose of being confined, and, consequently, 
no enquiries were made about her. 

Glasgow was, at that period, a very different 
place to what it is at present, in more respects 
than one ; and, amongst its peculiarities, was 
the extraordinary strictness with which the 
observance of the Sabbath was enforced, ins^- 
much, that nobody was permitted to show 


themselves in the streets or public walks 
during the hours dedicated to the church 
services; and there were actually inspectors 
appointed to see that this regulation was 
observed, and to take down the names of 

At one extremity of the city, there is some 
open ground, of rather considerable extent, on 
the north side of the river, called " The Green," 
where people sometimes resort for air and 
exercise ; and where lovers not unfrequently 
retire to enjoy as much solitude as the 
proximity to so large a town can afford. 

One Sunday morning, the inspectors of 
public piety above alluded to having traversed 
the city, and extended their perquisitions as 
far as the lower extremity of the Green, where 
it was bounded by a wall, observed a young 
man lying on the grass, whom they imme- 
diately recognized to be the surgeon's assist- 
ant. They, of course, enquired why he was 
not at church, and proceeded to register his 
name in their books, but, instead of attempting 
to make any excuse for his offence, he only 
rose from the ground, saying, " I am a miser- 
able man ; look in the water ! " He then 
immediately crossed a style, which divided the 
wall, and led to a path extending along the 


side of the river towards the Rutherglen-road. 
They saw him cross the style, but, not com- 
prehending the significance of his words, in- 
stead of observing hiin further, they naturally 
directed their attention to the water, where 
they presently perceived the body of a woman. 
Having with some difficulty dragged it ashore, 
they immediately proceeded to carry it into the 
town, assisted by several other persons, who 
by this time had joined them. It was now 
about one o'clock, and, as they passed through 
the streets, they were obstructed by the congre- 
gation that was issuing from one of the prin- 
cipal places of worship ; and, as they stood up 
for a moment, to let them pass, they saw the 
surgeon's assistant issue from the church door. 
As it was quite possible for him to have gone 
round some other way, and got there before 
them, they were not much surprised. He did 
not approach them, but mingled with the 
crowd, whilst they proceeded on their way. 

On examination, the woman proved to be 
the missing servant-girl. She was pregnant, 
and had evidently been murdered with a sur- 
geon's instrument, which was found entangled 
amongst her clothes. Upon this, in conse- 
quence of his known connexion with her, and 


his implied self-accusation to the inspectors, 
the young man was apprehended on suspicion 
of being the guilty party, and tried upon the 
circuit. He was the last person seen in her 
company, immediately previous to her dis- 
appearance ; and there was, altogether, such 
strong presumptive evidence against him, as 
corroborated by what occurred on the green 
would have justified a verdict of guilty. But* 
strange to say, this last most important item 
in the evidence failed, and he established an 
incontrovertible alibi ; it being proved, beyond 
all possibility of doubt, that he had been in 
church from the beginning of the service to the 
end of it. He was, therefore, acquitted ; 
whilst the public were left in the greatest per- 
plexity, to account as they could for this extra- 
ordinary discrepancy. The young man was 
well known to the inspectors, and it was in 
broad daylight that they had met him and 
placed his name in their books. Neither, it 
must be remembered, were they seeking for 
him, nor thinking of him, nor of the woman, 
about whom there existed neither curiosity nor 
suspicion. Least of all, would they have 
sought her where she was, but for the hint 
given to them. 


The interest excited, at the time, was very 
great ; but no natural explanation of the 
mystery has ever been suggested. 



THE number of stories on record, which seem 
to support the views I have suggested in my 
last chapter, is, I fancy, little suspected by 
people in general ; and still less is it imagined 
that similar occurrences are yet frequently 
taking place. I had, indeed, myself no idea of 
either one circumstance or the other, till my 
attention being accidentally turned in this 
direction, I was led into enquiries, the result 
of which has extremely surprised me. I do 
not mean to imply that all my acquaintance 
are ghost-seers, or that these things happen 


every day ; but the amount of what 1 do mean, 
is this: first, that besides the numerous in- 
stances of such phenomena alluded to in 
history, which have been treated as fables by 
those who profess to believe the rest of the 
narratives, though the whole rests upon the 
same foundation, i. e., tradition and hear-say ; 
besides these, there exists in one form or 
another, hundreds and hundreds of recorded 
cases, in all countries, and in all languages, 
exhibiting- that degree of similarity which 
mark them as belonging to a class of facts, 
many of these being of a nature which seems 
to preclude the possibility of bringing them 
under the theory of spectral illusions ; and, 
secondly, that I scarcely meet any one man 
or woman, who, if I can induce them to 
believe I will not publish their names, and am 
not going to laugh at them, is not prepared to 
tell me of some occurrence of the sort, as 
having happened to themselves, their family, 
or their friends. I admit that in many in- 
stances they terminate their narration, by say- 
ing, that they think it must have been an 
illusion, because they cannot bring themselves 
to believe in ghosts ; not unfrequently adding, 
that they wish to think so ; since to think 
otherwise, would make them uncomfortable. 
VOL. r. 2 D 


I confess, however, that this seems to me a 
very unwise, as well as a very unsafe way of 
treating the matter. Believing the appearance 
to be an illusion, because they cannot bring 
themselves to believe in ghosts, simply amounts 
to saying, " I don't believe, because I don't 
believe ; " and is an argument of no effect, 
except to invalidate their capacity for judging 
the question, at all ; but the second reason for 
not believing, namely, that they do not wish 
to do so, has not only the same disadvantage, 
but is liable to much more serious objections ; 
for it is our duty to ascertain the truth in an 
affair that concerns every soul of us so deeply ; 
and to shrink from looking at it, lest it should 
disclose something we do not like, is an expedieu t 
as childish as it is desperate. In reviewing my 
late novel of "Lilly Dawson," where I announce 
the present work, I observe, that, whilst some 
of the reviewers scout the very idea of any 
body's believing in ghosts, others, less rash, 
whilst they admit that it is a subject we know 
nothing about, object to further investigation, 
on account of the terrors and uncomfortable 
feelings that will be engendered. Now, cer- 
tainly, if it were a matter in which we had no 
personal concern, and which belonged merely 
to the region of speculative curiosity, every 


body would l>c perfectlyjustified in following 
their inclinations with regard to it ; there 
would be no reason for frightening themselves, 
if they did not like it ; but since it is perfectly 
certain that the fate of these poor ghosts, be 
what it may, will be ours some day perhaps 
before another year or another week has passed 
over our heads to shut our eyes to the truth, 
because it may, perchance, occasion us some 
uncomfortable feelings, is surely a strange 
mixture of contemptible cowardice and daring 
temerity. If it be true that by some law of 
nature, departed souls occasionally revisit the 
earth, we may be quite certain that it was in- 
tended we should know it, and that the law is 
to some good end ; for no law of God can be 
purposeless or mischievous; and is it conceivable 
that we should say, we will not know it, be- 
cause it is disagreeable to us ? Is not this 
very like saying, " Let us eat, drink, and be 
merry, for tomorrow we die !" and yet re- 
fusing to enquire what is to become of us 
when we do die ? refusing to avail ourselves 
of that demonstrative proof, which God has 
mercifully placed within our reach ? And 
with all this obstinacy, people do not get rid 
of the apprehension ; they go on struggling 
against it and keeping it down by argument 

301 Ari'AiiiTioxs. 

and reason, but there are very few persons in- 
deed, men or women, who, when placed in a 
situation, calculated to suggest the idea, do not 
feel the intuitive conviction striving- within 
them. In the ordinary circumstances of life, 
nobody suffers from this terror ; in the extra- 
ordinary ones, I find the professed disbelievers 
not much better off than the believers. Not 
long ago, I heard a lady expressing the great 
alarm she should have felt, had she been ex- 
posed to spend a whole night on Ben Lomond, 
as Margaret Fuller, the American authoress, 
did lately ; "for," said she, " though I don't be- 
lieve in ghosts, I should have been dreadfully 
afraid of seeing one, then !" 

Moreover, though 1 do not suppose that man, 
in his normal state, could ever encounter an 
incorporeal spirit without considerable awe, I 
am inclined to think that the extreme terror 
thg idea inspires, arises from bad training. 
The ignorant frighten children with ghosts; 
and the better educated assure them there is 
no such thing. Our understanding may be- 
lieve the latter, but our instincts believe the 
former; so that., out of this education, we 
retain the terror, and just belief enough to 
make it very troublesome whenever we are 
placed in circumstances that awaken it. Now, 


perhaps, if the thing were 'differently managed, 
the result might be different. Suppose the 
subject were duly investigated, and it were 
ascertained that the views I and many others 
are disposed to entertain with regard to it, 
are correct ; and suppose, then, children were 
calmly told that it is not impossible, but that 
on some occasion they may see a departed 
friend again ; that the laws of nature esta- 
blished by an alhvise Providence, admit of the 
dead sometimes revisiting the earth, doubtless 
for the benevolent purpose of keeping alive 
in us our faith in a future state ; that death 
is merely a transition to another life, which it 
depends on ourselves to make happy or other- 
wise ; and that, whilst those spirits which 
appear bright and blessed, may well be objects 
of our envy, the others should excite only our 
intense compassion. I am persuaded that a 
child so educated would feel no terror at the 
sight of an apparition, more especially as 
there very rarely appears to be anything 
terrific in the aspect of these forms ; they 
generally come in their "habits as they lived," 
and appear so much like the living person in 
the flesh, that where they are not known to be 
already dead, they are frequently mistaken 
for them. There are exceptions to this rule, 
2 i) 5 


but it is very rare that the forms in themselves 
exhibit anything- to create alarm. 

As a proof that a child would not naturally 
be terrified at the sight of an apparition, 1 
will adduce the following instance, the au- 
thenticity of which I can vouch for: 

A lady with her child embarked on board a 
vessel at Jamaica, for the purpose of visiting 
her friends in England, leaving her husband 
behind her quite well. It was a sailing 
packet ; and they had been some time at sea, 
when, one evening, whilst the child was 
kneeling before her, saying his prayers, pre- 
viously to going to rest, he suddenly said, 
looking eagerly to a particular spot in the 
cabin, "Mamma, Papa!" "Nonsense, my 
dear !" the mother answered ; " You know 
your papa is not here !" " He is, indeed, 
mama," returned the child, " he is looking at 
us now !" Nor could she convince him to the 
contrary. When she went on deck, she men- 
tioned the circumstance to the captain, who 
thought it so strange, that he said he would 
note down the date of the occurrence. The 
lady begged him not to do so, saying, it was 
attaching a significance to it which would 
make her miserable ; he did it, however, and 
shortly after her arrival in England, she learnt 


that her husband had died exactly at that 

I have met with other instances in which 
children have seen apparitions without ex- 
hibiting any alarm ; and in the case of Fre- 
dericka Hauffe, the infant in her arms was 
frequently observed to point smilingly to those 
which she herself said she saw. In the above 
related case, we find a valuable example of an 
apparition which we cannot believe to have 
been a mere subjective phenomenon, being 
seen by one person and not by another. The 
receptivity of the child may have been greater, 
or the rapport betwixt it and its father stronger, 
but this occurrence inevitably leads us to sug- 
gest, how often our departed friends may be 
near us, and we not see them ! 

A Mr. B., with whom I am acquainted, 
informed me that some years ago, he lost 
two children. There was an interval of two 
years between their deaths ; and about as long 
a period had elapsed since the decease of the 
second, when the circumstance I am about to 
relate took place. It may be conceived that 
at that distance of time, however vivid the 
impression had been at first, it had consi- 
derably faded from the mind of a man en- 
gaged in business ; and ha assures me that 


on the night this event occurred, he was not 
thinking of the children at all ; he was, more- 
over, perfectly well, and had neither eaten or 
drank anything unusual, nor abstained from 
eating or drinking anything to which he was 
accustomed. He was, therefore, in his normal 
state; when shortly after he had lain down in 
bed, and before he had fallen asleep, he heard 
the voice of one of the children say, " Papa ! 
Papa !" 

"Do you hear that?" he said to his wife, 
who lay beside him; "I hear Archy calling 
me, as plain as ever I heard him in my life ! " 

" Nonsense!" returned the lady; " you are 
fancying it." 

But presently he again heard " Papa ! 
Papa!" and now both voices spoke. Upon 
which, exclaiming " I can stand this no 
longer !" he started up, and drawing back the 
curtains, saw both children in their night- 
dresses, standing near the bed. He imme- 
diately jumped out ; whereupon they retreated 
slowly, and with their faces towards him, to 
the window, where they disappeared. He says, 
that the circumstance made a great impres- 
sion upon him at the time ; and, indeed, that 
it was one that could never be effaced ; but he 
did not know what to think of it, not believing 


in ghosts, and therefore concluded it must 
have been some extraordinary spectral illusion ; 
especially as his wife heard nothing. It may 
have been so ; but that circumstance by no 
means proves it. 

From these varying degrees of susceptibility, 
or atiinity, there seems to arise another conse- 
quence, namely, that more than one person 
may see the same object, and yet see it differ- 
ently, and I mention* this particularly, because 
it is one of the objections that unreflecting 
persons make to phenomena of this kind, 
second sight especially. In the remarkable 
instance which is recorded to have occurred at 
Ripley, in the year 1812, to which I shall 
allude more particularly in a future chapter, 
much stress was laid on the fact, that the first 
seer said, " Look at those beasts !" Whilst 
the second answered, they were " not beasts, 
but men." In a former chapter, I mentioned 
the case of a lady, on board a ship, seeing and 
feeling a sort of blue cloud hanging over her, 
which afterwards, as it retired, assumed a 
human form, though still appearing a vapoury 
substance. Now, possibly, had her recep- 
tivity, or the rapport, been greater, she might 
have seen the distinct image of her dying 
friend. I have met with seveial instances of 


these cloudy figures being seen, as if the spirit 
had built itself up a form of atmospheric air ; 
and it is remarkable, that when other persons 
perceived the apparitions that frequented the 
Seeress of Prevorst, some saw those as cloudy 
forms, which she saw distinctly attired in the 
costume they wore when alive ; and thus, on 
some occasions, apparitions are represented as 
being transparent, whilst on others they have 
not been distinguishable from the real cor- 
poreal body. All these discrepancies, and 
others, to be hereafter alluded to, are doubtless 
only absurd to our ignorance ; they are the 
results of physical laws, as absolute, though 
not so easily ascertained, as those by which the 
most ordinary phenomena around us are found 

With respect to these cloudy forms, I have 
met with four instances lately; two occurring 
to ladies, and two to gentlemen ; the one a 
minister, and the other a man engaged in 
business ; and although I am quite aware that 
these cases are not easily to be distinguished 
from those of spectral illusion, yet I do not 
think them so myself ; and as they occurred to 
persons in their normal state of health, who 
never before or since experienced anything of 
the kind, and who could lind nothing in their 


own circumstances to account for its happen- 
ing then, I shall mention them. In the in- 
stances of the gentleman and one of the ladies, 
they were suddenly awakened, they could not 
tell by what, and perceived bending over 
them a cloudy form, which immediately re- 
treated slowly to the other end of the room, 
and disappeared. In the fourth case, which 
occurred to an intimate friend of my own, she 
had not been to sleep ; but having been the 
last person up in the house, had just stept into 
the bed, where her sister had already been some 
time asleep. She was perfectly awake, when 
her attention was attracted by hearing the 
clink of glass, and on looking up, she saw a 
figure standing on the hearth, which was ex- 
actly opposite her side of the bed, and as 
there was water and a tumbler there, she con- 
cluded that her sister had stept out at the 
bottom, unperceived by her, and was drinking. 
Whilst she was carelessly observing the figure, 
it moved towards the bed, and laid a heavy 
hand upon her, pressing her arm in a manner 
that gave her pain. "Oh, Maria, don't!" 
she exclaimed ; but as the form retreated, and 
she lost sight of it, a strange feeling crept over 
her, and she stretched out her hand to ascer- 
tain if her sister was beside her. She was, and 


asleep ; hut this movement awoke her, and she 
found the other now in considerable agitation. 
She, of course, tried to persuade her that it 
was a dream, or night-mare, as did the family 
the next day ; but she was quite clear in her 
mind at the time, as she then assured me, that 
it was neither one nor the other ; though now, 
at the distance of a year from the occurrence, 
she is very desirous of putting that con- 
struction upon it. As somebody will be ready 
to suggest that this was a freak played by one 
of the family, I can only answer that that is 
an explanation that no one who is acquainted 
with all the circumstances, could admit; 
added to which, the figure did not disappear 
in the direction of the door, but in quite an 
opposite one. 

A very singular thing happened to the 
accomplished authoress of " Letters from the 
Baltic," on which my readers may put what 
interpretation they please, but I give it here as 
a pendant to the last story. The night before 
she left Petersburgh, she passed in the house 
of a friend. The room appropriated to her 
use was a large dining-room, in which a tem- 
porary bed was placed, and a folding screen 
was so arranged as to give an air of comfort to 
the nook where the bed stood. She went to 


bed, and to sleep, andno one who knows her can 
suspect her of seeing spectral illusions, or being 
incapable of distinguishing her own condition 
when she saw anything whatever. As she 
was to commence her journey on the following 
day, she had given orders to be called at an 
early hour, and, accordingly, she found herself 
awakened towards morning by an old woman 
in a complete Russian costume, who looked at 
her, nodding and smiling, and intimating, as 
she supposed, that it was time to rise. Feeling, 
however, very sleepy, and very unwilling to do 
so, she took her watch from behind her pillow, 
and, looking at it, perceived that it was only 
four o'clock. As, from the costume of the 
old woman, she knew her to be a Russian, and 
therefore not likely to understand any lan- 
guage she could speak, she shook her head, 
and pointed to the watch, giving her to under- 
stand that it was too early. The woman looked 
at her, and nodded, and then retreated, whilst 
the traveller laid down again and soon fell 
asleep. By and by, she was awakened by a 
knock at the door, and the voice of the maid 
whom she had desired to call her. She bade 
her come in, but the door being locked on the 
inside, she had to get out of bed to admit her. 
It now occurred to her to wonder how the old 
VOL. i. 2 E 


woman had entered, but, taking it for granted 
there was some other mode of ingress, she 
did not trouble herself about it, but dressed, 
and descended to breakfast. Of course, the 
enquiry usually addressed to a stranger was 
made, they hoped she had slept well ! " Per- 
fectly," she said, " only that one of their good 
people had been somewhat over anxious to get 
her up in the morning ;" and she then men- 
tioned the old woman's visit, but to her sur- 
prise they declared they had no such person in 
the family. "It must have been some old 
nurse, or laundress, or somebody of that 
sort," she suggested. " Impossible I" they 
answered ; " You must have dreamt the whole 
thing ; we have no old woman in the house ; 
nobody wearing that costume ; and nobody 
could have got in, since the door must have 
been fastened long after that!" And these 
assertions the servants fully confirmed ; added 
to which, I should observe, the house, like 
foreign houses in general, consisted of a flat, or 
floor, shut in by a door, which separated it 
entirely from the rest of the building, and, 
being high up from the street, nobody could 
even have gained access by a window. The 
lady now beginning to be somewhat puzzled, 
enquired if there were any second entrance 


into the room ; but, to her surprise, she heard 
there was not, and she then mentioned that 
she had locked the door on going- to bed, and 
had found it locked in the morning. The 
thing has ever remained utterly inexplicable, 
and the family, who were much more amazed 
by it than she was, would willingly believe it 
to have been a dream, but, whatever the inter- 
pretation of it may be, she feels quite certain 
that that is not the true one. 

1 make no comments on the above case, 
though a very inexplicable one ; and I scarcely 
know whether to mention any of those well 
established tales, which appear certainly to be 
as satisfactorily attested as any circumstance 
which is usually taken simply on report. I 
allude, particularly, to the stories of General 
Wynyard, Lord Tyrone, and Lady Beresibrd, 
the case which took place at Havant, in Hamp- 
shire, and which is related in a letter from Mr. 
Caswell, the mathematician, to Dr. Bentley ; 
that which occurred in Cornwall, as narrated 
by the Rev. Mr. Ruddle, one of the preben- 
daries of Exeter, whose assistance and advice 
was asked, and who himself had two inter- 
views with the spirit ; and many others, which 
are already published in different works, espe- 
cially in a little book entitled " Accredited 


Ghost Stories." I may however mention, that 
with respect to those of Lady Beresford and 
General Wynyard, the families of the parties 
have always maintained their entire belief in 
the circumstances ; as do the family of Lady 
Betty Cobb, who took the ribbon from Lady 
Beresford's arm, after she was dead ; she 
having always worn it since her interview with 
the apparition, in order to conceal the mark he 
had left by touching her. 

There have been many attempts to explain 
away the story of Lord Littleton's warning:, 
although the evidence for it certainly satisfied 
the family, as we learn from Dr. Johnson, who 
said, in regard to it, that it was the most ex- 
traordinary thing that had happened in his 
day, and that he heard it from the lips of Lord 
Westcote, the uncle of Lord Littleton. 

There is a sequel however to this story, 
which is extremely well authenticated, though 
much less generally known. It appears that 
Mr. Miles Peter Andrews, the intimate friend 
of Lord Littleton, was at his house, at Dart- 
ford, when Lord L., died at Pitt -place, Epsom, 
thirty miles off'. Mr. Andrews' house was full 
of company, and he expected Lord Littleton, 
whom he had left in his usual state of health, 
to join him the next day, which was Sunday. 


Mr. Andrews himself feeling rather indisposed 
on the Saturday evening, retired early to bed, 
and requested Mrs. Pigou, one of his guests, 
to do the honours of his supper- table. He 
admitted, for he is himself the authority for 
the story, that he fell into a feverish sleep on 
going to bed, but was awakened between eleven 
and twelve by somebody opening his curtains, 
which proved to be Lord Litttleton, in a 
night-gown and cap, which Mr. Andrews 
recognized. Lord L. spoke, saying that he 
was come to tell him all was over. It appears 
that Lord Littleton was fond of practical 
joking, and as Mr. A. entertained no doubt 
whatever of his visitor being Lord L. himself, 
in the body, he supposed that this was one of 
his tricks ; and, stretching his arm out of bed, 
he took hold of his slippers, the nearest 
thing he could get at, and threw them at him, 
whereupon the figure retreated to a dressing- 
room, which had no ingress nor egress except 
through the bed-chamber. Upon this, Mr. 
Andrews jumped out of bed to follow him, in- 
tending to chastise him further, but he could 
find nobody in either of the rooms, although 
the door was locked on the inside, so he rang 
his bell, and enquired who had seen Lord 
Littleton. Nobody had seen him ; but, though 
2 E 5 


how he had got in or out of the room, re- 
mained an enigma, Mr. Andrews asserted that 
he was certainly there ; and, angry at the sup- 
posed trick, he ordered that they should give 
him no bed, but let him go and sleep at the 
inn. Lord Littleton, however, appeared no 
more, and Mr. Andrews went to sleep, not 
entertaining the slightest suspicion that he 
had seen an apparition. It happened that, 
on the following morning, Mrs. Pigou had 
occasion to go at an early hour to London, and 
great was her astonishment to learn that Lord 
Littleton had died on the preceding night. 
She immediately dispatched an express to 
Dartford with the news, upon the receipt of 
which, Mr. Andrews, then quite well, and re- 
membering perfectly all that had happened, 
swooned away. He could not understand it, 
but it had a most serious effect upon him, and, 
to use his own expression, he was not 
his own man again for three years. There 
are various authorities for this story, the 
correctness of which is vouched for by some 
members of Mrs. Pigou's family, with whom I 
am acquainted, who have frequently heard the 
circumstances detailed by herself, and who 
assure me it was always believed by the family. 
I really, therefore, do not see what grounds we 


have' for doubting- either of these facts. Lord 
Westcote, on whose word Dr. Johnson founded 
his belief of Lord Littleton's warning, was a 
man of strong sense ; and that the story was 
not looked upon lightly by the family, is 
proved by the circumstance that the dowager 
Lady Littleton had a picture, which was seen 
by Sir Nathaniel Wraxhall in her house in 
Portugal-street, as mentioned in his memoirs, 
wherein the event was commemorated. His 
Lordship is in bed, the dove appears at the 
window, and a female figure stands at the 
foot of the couch, announcing to the unhappy 
profligate his approaching dissolution. That 
he mentioned the warning to his valet, and 
some other persons, and that he talked of 
jockeying the ghost by surviving the time 
named, is certain ; as, also, that he died with 
his watch in his hand, precisely at the ap- 
pointed period. Mr. Andrews says, that he 
was subject to fits of strangulation, from a 
swelling in the throat, which might have killed 
him at any moment ; but his decease having 
proceeded from a natural and obvious cause, 
does not interfere one way or the other with 
the validity of the prediction, which simply 
foretold his death at a particular period, not 


that there was to be anything preternatural in 
the manner of it. 

As I find so many people willing to believe 
in wraiths, who cannot believe in ghosts that 
is, they are overpowered by the numerous 
examples, and the weight of evidence for the 
first it would be very desirable if we could 
ascertain whether these wraiths are seen before 
the death occurs, or after it j but, though the 
day is recorded, and seems always to be the 
one on which the death took place, and the 
hour about the same, minutes are not suf- 
ficiently observed to enable us to answer that 
question. It would be an interesting one, be- 
cause the argument advanced by those who 
believe that the dead never are seen, is, that it 
is the strong will and desire of the expiring 
person which enables him so to act on the 
nervous system of his distant friend, that the 
imagination of the latter projects the form, and 
sees it as if objectively. By imagination I do 
not simply mean to convey the common notion 
implied by that much abused word, which is 
only fancy, but the constructive imagination, 
which is a much higher function, and which, 
inasmuch as man is made in the likeness of 
God, bears a distant relation to that sublime 


power by which the Creator projects, creates, 
and upholds his universe ; whilst the far- 
working of the departing spirit seems to con- 
sist in the strong will to do, reinforced by the 
strong faith that the thing can be done. 
We have rarely the strong will, and still more 
rarely the strong faith, without which the will 
remains ineffective. In the following case, 
which is perfectly authentic, the apparition of 
Major R. was seen several hours after his 
death had occurred. 

In the year 1785, some cadets were ordered 
to proceed from Madras, to join their regiments 
up the country. A considerable part of the 
journey was to be made in a barge, and they 
were under the conduct of a senior officer, 
Major R. In order to relieve the monotony of 
the voyage, this gentleman proposed, one day, 
that they should make a shooting excursion 
inland, and walk round to meet the boat at a 
point agreed on, which, owing to the windings 
of the river, it would not reach till evening. 
They accordingly took their guns, and as they 
had to cross a swamp, Major R., who was well 
acquainted with the country, put on a heavy 
pair of top-boots, which, together with an 
odd limp he had in his gait, rendered him dis- 
tinguishable from the rest of the party at a 


considerable distance. When they reached 
the jungle, they found there was a wide ditch 
to leap, which all succeeded in doing except 
the Major, who being less young and active, 
jumped short of the requisite distance ; and 
although he scrambled up unhurt, he found 
his gun so crammed full of wet sand that it 
would be useless till thoroughly cleansed. He 
therefore bade them walk on, saying he would 
follow ; and taking off his hat, he sat down 
in the shade, where they left him. When they 
had been beating about for game some time, 
they began to wonder the Major did not come 
on, and they shouted to let him know where 
abouts they were ; but there was no answer, 
and hour after hour passed without his appear- 
ance, till at length they began to feel some- 
what uneasy. Thus the day wore away, and 
they found themselves approaching the ren- 
dezvous ; the boat was in sight, and they were 
walking down to it, wondering how their 
friend could have missed them, when suddenly, 
to their great joy, they saw him before them 
making towards the barge. He was without 
his hat or gun, limping hastily along, in his 
top-boots, and did not appear to observe them. 
They shouted after him, but as he did not 
look round, they began to run, in order to 


overtake him ; and, indeed, fast as he went, 
they did gain considerably upon him. Still 
he reached the boat first, crossing the plank 
which the boatmen had placed ready for the 
gentlemen they saw approaching. He ran 
down the companion stairs, and they after 
him; but inexpressible was their surprise 
when they could not find him below. They 
ascended again, and enquired of the boatmen 
what had become of him ; but they declared 
he had not come on board, and that nobody 
had crossed the plank till the young men 
themselves had done so. 

Confounded and amazed at what appeared 
so inexplicable, and doubly anxious about 
their friend, they immediately resolved to re- 
trace their steps in search of him ; and, accom- 
panied by some Indians who knew the jungle, 
they made their way back to the spot where 
they had left him. From thence some foot- 
marks enabled them to trace him, till, at a very 
short distance from the ditch, they found his 
hat and his gun. Just then the Indians called 
out to them to beware, for that there was a 
sunk well thereabouts, into which they might 
fall. An apprehension naturally seized them 
that this might have been the fate of their 
friend ; and on examining its edge, they saw a 


mark as of a heel slipping up ; upon this, one 
of the Indians consented to go down, having 
a rope with which they had provided them- 
selves tied round his waist, for, aware of the 
existence of the wells, the natives suspected 
what had actually occurred, namely, that the 
unfortunate gentleman had slipt into one of 
these traps, which, being overgrown with bram- 
bles, were not discernible by the eye. With 
the assistance of the Indian, the body was 
brought up and carried back to the boat, 
amidst the deep regrets of the party, with 
whom he had been a great favourite. They 
proceeded with it to the next station, where an 
enquiry was instituted as to the manner of his 
death, but of course there was nothing more 
to be elicited. 

I give this story as related by one of the 
parties present, and there is no doubt of its 
perfect authenticity. He says, he can in no 
way account for the mystery he can only re- 
late the fact ; and not one, but the whole Jive 
cadets, saw him as distinctly as they saw each 
other. It was evident, from the spot where 
the body was found, which was not many 
hundred yards from the well, that the accident 
must have occurred very shortly alter they left 
him. When the young men reached the boat, 


Major R. must have been, for some seven or 
eight hours, a denizen of the other world, yet 
he kept the rendezvous ! 

There was a similar occurrence in Devon- 
shire, some years back, which happened to the 
well known Dr. Hawker, who, one night, in 
the street, observed an old woman pass him, 
to whom he was in the habit of giving a weekly 
charity. Immediately after she had passed, he 
felt somebody pull his coat, and, on looking 
round, saw it was she, whereupon he put his 
hand in his pocket to seek for a sixpence, but, 
on turning to give it to her, she was gone. He 
thought nothing about it, but when he got 
home, he enquired if she had had her money 
that week, when, to his amazement, he heard 
she was dead, but his family had forgotten to 
mention the circumstance. I have met with 
two curious cases occurring in Edinburgh, of 
late years ; in one, a young man and his sister 
were in their kitchen, warming themselves 
over the fire, before they retired to bed, when, 
on raising their eyes, they both saw a female 
figure dressed in white, standing in the door- 
way, and looking at them ; she was leaning 
against one of the door-posts. Miss E., the 
young lady, screamed, whereupon the figure 
advanced, crossed the kitchen towards a closet, 
VOL. i. 2 P 


and disappeared. There was no egress at the 
closet ; and, as they lived in a flat, and the door 
was closed for the night, a stranger could 
neither have entered the house nor got out of 
it. In the other instance, there were two 
houses on one flat, the doors opposite each 
other. In one of the houses there resided a 
person with her two daughters, grown up 
women j in the other lived a shoemaker and 
his wife. The latter died, and it was said her 
husband had ill-treated her, and worried her 
out of the world. He was a drunken, dissi- 
pated man, and used to be out till a late houir 
most nights, whilst this goor woman sat up for 
him ; and, when she heard a voice on the stairs, 
or a bell, she used often to come out and look 
over, to see if it were her husband returned. 
One night, when she had been dead some 
weeks, the two young women were ascending 
the stairs to their own door, when, to their 
amazement, they both saw her standing at the 
top, looking over as she used to do in her life 
time. At the same moment, their mother 
opened the door, and saw the figure also ; the 
girls rushed past, overcome with terror, and 
one, if not both, fainted, as soon as they got 
into the door. The youngest fell on her face 
in the passage. 


Another case, which occurred in this town, 
I mention, although I know it is liable to be 
called a spectral illusion, because it bears a re- 
markable similarity to one which took place in 
America. A respectable woman lost her father, 
for whom she had a great affection ; she was 
of a serious turn, and much attached to the 
tenets of her church, in which particulars she 
thought her father had been deficient. She 
was therefore very unhappy about him, fear- 
ing that he had not died in a proper state of 
mind. A considerable time had elapsed since 
his death, but her distrust of his condition 
was still causing her uneasiness, when, one 
day, whilst she was sitting at her work, 
she felt something touch her shoulder, and 
on looking round she perceived her father, 
who bade her cease to grieve about him, as he 
was not unhappy. From that moment, she 
became perfectly resigned and cheerful. The 
American case I have omitted to write down 
the name of the place, and forget it was 
that of a mother and son. She was also a 
highly respectable person, and was described 
to me as perfectly trustworthy, by one who 
knew her. She was a widow, and had one 
son, to whom she was extremely attached, 
He however disappeared, one day, and she 


never could learn what had become of him ; 
she always said, that if she did but know his 
fate, she should be happier. At length, when 
he had been dead a considerable time, her 
attention was, one day, whilst reading, at- 
tracted by a slight noise, which induced her 
to look round; and she saw her son, dripping 
with water, and with a sad expression of 
countenance. The features however presently 
relaxed, and they assumed a more pleasing 
aspect before he disappeared. From that time 
she ceased to grieve, and it was subsequently 
ascertained that the young man had run away 
to sea; but no more was known of him. Cer- 
tain it was, however, that she attributed her 
recovered tranquillity to having seen her son as 
above narrated. 

A lady, with whom I am acquainted, when 
she was a girl, was one day standing at the 
top of the stairs, with two others, discussing 
their games, when they each suddenly ex- 
claimed, "Who's that?" There was a fourth 
among them ; a girl in a checked pinafore ; 
but she was gone again. They had all seen 
her. One day a younger brother, in the same 
house, was playing with a whip, when he 
suddenly laughed at something, and cried, 
"Take that;" and described having seen the 


same girl. This led to some enquiry, and it 
was said that such a girl as they described had 
lived in that house, and had died from the bite 
of a mad dog ; or, rather, had been smothered 
between two feather beds; but whether that 
was actually done, or was only a report, I 
cannot say. Supposing this to have been no 
illusion, and I really cannot see how it could be 
one, the memory of past sports and pleasures 
seems to have so survived, as to have attracted 
the young soul, prematurely cut off, to the spot 
where the same sports and pleasures were 
being enjoyed by the living. 

A maid servant, in one of the midland coun- 
ties of England, being up early one morning, 
heard her name called in a voice that seemed to 
be her brother's, a sailor then at sea; and run- 
ning up, she found him standing in the hall ; he 
said he was come from afar, and was going 
again, and mentioned some other things, when 
her mistress, hearing voices, called to know 
who she was talking to ; she said, it was her 
brother, from sea. After speaking to her for 
some time, she suddenly lost sight of him, and 
found herself alone. Amazed and puzzled, 
she told her mistress what had happened, who 
being led thus to suspect the kind of visitor it 
was, looked out of the window to ascertain if 
2 F 5 


there were any marks of footsteps, the ground 
being covered with snow. There were how- 
ever none, and it was therefore clear that no- 
body could have entered the house. Intelli- 
gence afterwards arrived of the young man's 

This last is a case of wraith, but a more 
complicated one, from the circumstance of 
speech being superadded. But this is not by 
any means an isolated particular ; there are 
many such. The author of the book called 
" Accredited Ghost Stories," whose name I at 
this moment forget, and I have not the book 
at hand, gives, on his own authority, the fol- 
lowing circumstance, professing to be ac- 
quainted with the parties. A company were 
visiting l^ork Cathedral, when a gentleman 
and lady, who had detached themselves from 
the rest, observed an officer wearing a naval 
uniform approaching them ; he walked quickly, 
saying to the lady as he passed, " There is 
another world." The gentleman, seeing her 
greatly agitated, pursued the stranger, but lost 
sight of him, and nobody had seen such a per- 
son but themselves. On returning to his com- 
panion, she told him that it was her brother, 
who was then abroad with his ship, and with 
whom she had frequently held discussions as 


to whether there was or was not a future life. 
The news of the young man's death shortly 
reached the family. In this case, the brother 
must have been dead ; the spirit must have 
passed out of this world into that other, the 
existence of which he came to certify. This 
is one of those cases which, happening not 
long ago, leads one especially to regret the 
want of moral courage which prevents people 
giving up their names, and avowing their ex- 
perience. The author of the above-mentioned 
book, from which I borrow this story, says, that 
the sheet had gone to the press with the real 
names of the parties attached, but that he was 
requested to withdraw them, as it would be 
painful to the family. My view of this case is 
so different, that, had it occurred to myself, I 
should have felt it my imperative duty to make 
it known, and give every satisfaction to 

Some years ago, during the war, when Sir 
Robert H. E. was in the Netherlands, he hap- 
pened to be quartered with two other officers, 
one of whom was dispatched into Holland on 
an expedition. One night, during his absence, 
Sir R. H. E. awoke, and, to his great sur- 
prise, saw this absent friend sitting on the bed, 
which he used to occupy, with a wound in his 


breast. Sir R. immediately awoke his com- 
panion, who saw the spectre also. The latter 
then addressed them, saying, that he had been 
that day killed in a skirmish, and that he had 
died in great anxiety about his family, where- 
fore he had come to communicate that there 
was a deed of much consequence to them de- 
posited in the hands of a certain lawyer in 
London, whose name and address he men- 
tioned, adding that this man's honesty was not 
to be altogether relied on. He therefore re- 
quested that, on their return to England, they 
would go to his house and demand the deed, 
but that, if he denied the possession of it, 
they were to seek it in a certain drawer in his 
office, which he described to them. The 
circumstance impressed them very much 
at the time, but a long while had elapsed 
ere they reached England, during which 
period they had gone through so many 
adventures and seen so many friends fall around 
them, that this impression was considerably 
weakened, insomuch that each went to his 
own home and his own pursuits without think- 
ing of fulfilling the commission they had 
undertaken. Some time afterwards, however, 
it happened that they both met in London, 
and they then resolved to seek the street that 


had been named to them, and ascertain if such 
a man lived there. They found him, requested 
an interview, and demanded the deed, the pos- 
session of which he denied ; but their eyes 
were upon the drawer that had been described 
to them ; where they asserted it to be ; and 
being there discovered, it was delivered into 
their hands. Here, also, the soul had parted 
from the body, whilst the memory of the past 
and an anxiety for the worldly prosperity of 
those left behind, survived ; and we thus see 
that the condition of mind in which this per- 
son had died, remained unchanged. He wasnot 
indifferent to the worldly prosperity of his re- 
latives, and he found.his own state rendered 
unhappy by the fear that they might suffer 
from the dishonesty of his agent. It may here 
be naturally objected that hundreds of much 
loved widows and orphans have been ruined 
by dishonest trustees and agents, where no 
ghost came back to instruct them in the means 
of obviating the misfortune. This is, no doubt, 
a very legitimate objection, and one which it 
is very difficult to answer. I must, however, 
repeat what I said before ; nature is full of 
exceptional cases, whilst we know very little 
of the laws which regulate these exceptions; 
but we may see a very good reason for the fact 


that such communications are the exception, 
and not the rule; for if they were the latter 
the whole economy of this earthly life would 
be overturned, and its affairs must necessarily 
be conducted in a totally different manner to 
that which prevails at present. What the 
effects of such an arrangement of nature would 
be, had it pleased God to make it, he alone 
knows; but certain it is, that man's freedom, 
as a moral agent, would be in a great degree 
abrogated, were the barriers that impede our 
intercourse with the spiritual world removed. 
It may be answered, that this is an argu- 
ment which may be directed against the fact of 
such appearances being permitted, at all ; but 
that is a fallacious objection. Earthquakes 
and hurricanes are occasionally permitted, 
which overthrow the work of man's hands 
for centuries ; but if these convulsions of 
nature were of every day occurrence, nobody 
would think it worth their while to build a 
house or cultivate the earth, and the world 
would be a wreck and a wilderness. The 
apparitions that do appear, are not without 
their use to those who believe in them ; whilst 
there is too great an uncertainty attending the 
subject, generally, to allow of its ever being 
taken into consideration in mundane affairs. 



The old, so called, superstition of the people, 
that a person's " dying with something on his 
mind," is one of the frequent causes of these 
revisitings, seems, like most ether of their 
superstitions, to be founded on experience. I 
meet with many cases in which some appa- 
rently trivial anxiety, or some frustrated com- 
munication, prevents the uneasy spirit flinging 
off the honds that bind it to the earth. I 
could quote many examples characterised by 
this feature, but will confine myself to two or 

Jung Stilling gives a very curious one, which 
occurred in the year 1746, and for the authen- 
ticity of which he vouches. A gentleman, of 
the name of Dorrien, of most excellent 
character and amiable disposition, who was 
tutor in the Carolina Colleges, at Brunswick, 
died there in that year ; and, immediately pre- 
vious to his death, he sent to request an inter- 
view with another tutor, of the name of Hofer, 
with whom he had lived on terms of friend- 
ship. Hofer obeyed the summons, but came 
too late ; the dying man was already in the 
last agonies. After a short time, rumours be- 
gan to circulate that Herr Dorrien had been 
seen by different persons about the college ; 
but as it was with the pupils that these rumours 


originated, they were supposed to be mere 
fancies, and no attention whatever was paid to 
them. At length, however, in the month of 
October, three months'after the decease of Herr 
Dorrien, a circumstance occurred that excited 
considerable amazement amongst the pro- 
fessors. It formed part of the duty of 
Hofer to go through the college every 
night, between the hours of eleven and 
twelve, for the purpose of ascertaining 
that all the scholars were in bed, and 
that nothing irregular was going on amongst 
*them. On the night in question, on entering 
one of the anti-rooms in the execution of this 
duty, he saw, to his great amazement, Herr 
^Dorrien, seated, in the dressing-gown and 
white cap he was accustomed to wear, and 
holding the latter with his right hand, in such 
a manner as to conceal the upper part of the 
face ; from the eyes to the chin, however, it 
was distinctly visible. This unexpected sight 
naturally startled Hofer, but, summoning reso- 
lution, he advanced into the young men's 
chamber, and, having ascertained that all was 
in order, closed the door; he then turned h is 
eyes again towards the spectre, and there it sat 
as before, whereupon he went up to it, and 
stretched out his arm towards it ; but he was 


now seized with such a feeling of indescribable 
horror, that he could scarcely withdraw his 
hand, which became swollen to a degree that 
for some months he had no use of it. On the 
following day, he related this circumstance to 
the professor of mathematics, Oeder, who of 
course treated the thing as a spectral illusion. 
He, however, consented to accompany Hofer 
on his rounds the ensuing night, satisfied that 
he should be able either to convince him it 
was a mere phantasm, or else a spectre ot 
flesh and blood who was playing him a trick. 
They accordingly went at the usual hour, but 
no sooner had the professor of mathematics 
set his foot in that same room, than he ex- 
claimed, " By Heavens, it is Dorrien himself." 
Hofer, in the mean time, proceeded into the 
chamber as before, in the pursuance of his 
duties, and, on his return, they both contem- 
plated the figure for some time ; they had, 
however, neither of them the courage to ad- 
dress or approach it, and finally quitted the 
room, very much impressed, and perfectly con- 
vinced that they had seen Dorrien. This 
incident soon got spread abroad, and many 
people came in hopes of satisfying their own 
eyes of the fact, but their pains were fruitless j 
and even Professor Oeder, who had made up his 
VOL. i. 2 G 


mind to speak to the apparition, sought it re- 
peatedly in the same place in vain. At length, 
he gave it up, and ceased to think of it, saying, 
" I have sought the ghost long enough ; if he 
has anything to say, he must now seek me." 
About a fortnight after this, he was suddenly 
awakened, between three and four o'clock in 
the morning, by something moving in his 
chamber, and, on opening his eyes, he beheld 
a shadowy form, having the same appearance 
as the spectre, standing in front of a press 
which was not more than two steps from his 
bed. He raised himself, and contemplated 
the figure, the features of which he saw dis- 
tinctly for some minutes, till it disappeared. 
On the following night he was awakened in 
the same manner, and saw the figure as before, 
with the addition that there was a sound pro- 
ceeded from the door of the press, as if some- 
body was leaning against it. The spectre also 
staid longer this time, and Professor Oeder, no 
doubt frightened and angry, addressing it as 
an evil spirit, bade it begone, whereon it made 
gestures with its head and hands that alarmed 
him so much, that he adjured it, in the name 
of God, to leave him, which it did. Eight 
days now elapsed without any further disturb- 
ance, but, after that period, the visits of the 


spirit were resumed, and he was awakened by 
it repeatedly about three in the morning, when 
it would advance from the press to the bed, and, 
hang its head over him in a manner so annoy- 
ing, that he started up and struck at it, where 
upon it would retire, but presently advance 
again. Perceiving, now, that the countenance 
was rather placid and friendly than otherwise, 
the professor at length addressed it, and, having 
reason to believe that Dorrien had left some 
debts unpaid, he asked him if that were the 
case, upon which the spectre retreated some 
steps, and seemed to place itself in an attitude 
of attention. Oeder reiterated the enquiry, 
whereupon the figure drew its hand across its 
mouth, in which the professor now observed a 
short pipe. " Is it to the barber you are in 
debt ?" he enquired. The spectre slowly shook 
its head. " Is it to the tobacconist, then ?" 
asked he, the question being suggested by the 
pipe. Hereupon the form retreated, and dis- 
appeared. On the following day, Oeder nar- 
rated what had occurred to Councillor Erath, 
one of the curators of the college, and also to 
the sister of the deceased, and arrangements 
were made for discharging the debt. Professor 
Seidler, of the same college, now proposed to 
pass the night with Oeder for the purpose of 


observing if the ghost came again, which it 
did about five o'clock, and awoke Oeder as 
usual, who awoke his companion, but just then 
the form disappeared, and Seidler said he only 
saw something white. They then both dis- 
posed themselves to sleep, but presently Seidler 
was aroused by Oeder's starting up and striking 
out, whilst he cried, with a voice expressive of 
rage and horror, "Begone ! You have tor- 
mented me long enough ! If you want any- 
thing of me, say what it is, or give me an 
intelligible sign, and come heie no more !" 

Seidler heard all this, though he saw nothing ; 
but as soon as Oeder was somewhat appeased, 
he told him that the figure had returned, and 
not only approached the bed, but stretched 
itself upon it. After this, Oeder burnt alight, 
and had some one in the room with him every 
night. He gained this advantage by the light } 
that he saw nothing ; but between the hours 
of three and five, he was generally awakened 
by noises in his room, and other symptoms 
that satisfied him the ghost was there. At 
length, however, this annoyance ceased also ; 
and trusting that his unwelcome guest had 
taken his leave, he dismissed his bedfellow, 
and dispensed with his light. Two nights 
passed quietly over: on the third, however, 


the spectre returned; but very perceptibly 
darker. It now presented another sign, or 
symbol, which seemed to represent a picture, 
with a hole in the middle, through which it 
thrust its head. Oeder was now so little 
alarmed, that he bade it express its wishes more 
clearly, or approach nearer. To these requi- 
sitions the apparition shook its head, and 
then vanished. This strange phenomenon 
recurred several times, and even in the pre- 
sence of another curator of the college; but 
it was with considerable difficulty they dis- 
covered what the symbol was meant to convey. 
They at length, however, found that Dorrien, 
just before his illness, had obtained, on trial, 
several pictures for a magic lantern, which 
had never been returned to their owner. This 
was now done, and from that time the appari- 
tion was neither seen nor heard again. Pro- 
fessor Oeder made no secret of these circum- 
stances; he related them publicly in court 
and college ; he wrote the account to several 
eminent persons, and declared himself ready 
to attest the facts upon his oath. 

Stilling, who relates this story, has been 

called superstitious ; he may be so ; but his 

piety and his honesty are above suspicion ; he 

says the facts are well known, and that he can 

2 G 5 


vouch for their authenticity ; and as he must 
have heen a cotemporary of the parties con- 
cerned, he had, doubtless, good opportunities 
of ascertaining what foundation there was for 
the story. It is certainly a very extraordinary 
one, and the demeanour of the spirit as little 
like what we should have naturally appre- 
hended as possible ; but, as I have said before, 
we have no right to pronounce any opinion on 
this subject, except from experience, and 
there are two arguments to be advanced in 
favour of this narration ; the one being, that I 
cannot imagine anybody setting about to in- 
vent a ghost-story, would have introduced cir- 
cumstances so apparently improbable and 
inappropriate; and the other consisting in 
the fact, that I have met with numerous re- 
lations, coming from very opposite quarters, 
which seem to corroborate the one in question. 
With respect to the cause of the spectre's 
appearance, Jung Stilling, I think, reasonably 
enough, suggests, that the poor man had in- 
tended to commission Hofer to settle these 
little affairs for him, but that delaying this 
duty too long, his mind had been oppressed by 
the recollection of them in his last moments 
he had carried his care with him, and it bound 
him to the earth. Wherefore, considering how 


many persons die with duties unperformed, 
this anxiety to repair the neglect, is not more 
frequently manifested, we do not know ; some 
reasons we have already suggested as possible ; 
there may be others of which we can form no 
idea, any more than we can solve the question, 
why in some cases communication and even 
speech seems easy, whilst in this instance, the 
spirit was only able to convey its wishes by 
gestures and symbols. Its addressing itself to 
Oeder instead of Hofer, probably arose from 
its finding communication with him less diffi- 
cult ; the swelling of Hofer's arm indicating 
that his physical nature, was not adapted for 
this spiritual intercourse. With respect to 
Oeder's expedient of burning a light in his 
room, in order to prevent his seeing this 
shadowy form, we can comprehend, that the 
figure would be discerned more easily on the 
dark ground of comparative obscurity, and that 
clear light would render it invisible. Dr. Kerner 
mentions, on one occasion, that whilst sitting in 
an adjoining room, with the door open, he had 
seen a shadowy figure, to whom his patient 
was speaking, standing beside her bed ; and 
catching up a candle, he had rushed towards 
it ; but as soon as he had thus illuminated the 
chamber, he could no longer distinguish it. 


The ineffective and awkward attempts of 
this apparition, to make itself understood, are 
not easily to be reconciled to our ideas of a 
spirit, whilst at the same time, that which it 
could do, and that which it could not the 
powers it possessed and those it wanted tend 
to throw some light on its condition. As regards 
space, we may suppose, that in this instance, 
what St. Martin said of ghosts in general, 
may be applicable, " Je ne crois pas aux reve- 
nants, maisje croix aux restants ;" that is, he 
didnot believe, that spirits who had once quitted 
the earth, returned to it, but he believed that 
some did not quit it, and thus, as the somnam- 
bule mentioned in a former chapter said to 
me, " Some are waiting and some are gone on 
before." Dorrien's uneasiness and worldly 
care chained him to the earth, and he was a 
restant, but, being a spirit, he was inevitably 
inducted into some of the inherent properties 
of spirit; matter to him was no impediment, 
neither doors nor walls could keep him out ; 
he had the intuitive perception of whom he 
could most easily communicate with, or he 
was brought into rapport with Oeder by the 
latter's seeking him ; and he could either so 
act on Oeder's constructive imagination, as 
to enable it to project his own figure, with 


the short pipe and the pictures, or he could, 
by the magical power of his will, build up 
these images out of the constituents of the 
atmosphere. The last seems the most proba- 
ble, because, had the rapport with Oeder, or 
Oeder's receptivity, been sufficient to enable 
the spirit to act potently upon him, it would 
have been also able to infuse into his mind the 
wishes it desired to- convey, even without 
speech, for speech, as a means of communi- 
cation betwixt spirits, must be quite unneces- 
sary. Even in spite of these dense bodies of 
ours, we have great difficulty in concealing 
our thoughts from each other; and the som- 
nambule reads the thoughts not only of his 
magnetiser, but of others, with whom he is 
placed in rapport. In cases where speech 
appears to be used by a spirit, it is frequently 
not audible speech, but only this transference 
of thought, which appears to be speech from 
the manner in which the thought is borne in 
and enters the mind of the receiver ; but it is 
not through his ears, but through his universal 
supplementary sense, that he receives it; and 
it is no more like what we mean by hearing, 
than is the seeing of a clairvoyant, or a spirit, 
like our seeing by means of our bodily organs. 
In those cases where the speech is audible to 


other persons, we must suppose that the 
magical will of the spirit can, by means of the 
atmosphere, simulate these sounds as it can 
simulate others, of which I shall have to treat 
by and by. It is remarkable, that, in some 
instances, this magical power seems to extend 
so far as to represent to the eye of the seer a 
form apparently so real, solid, and life-like, 
that it is not recognizable from the living 
man ; whilst in other cases the production of 
a shadowy figure seems to be the limit of its 
agency, whether limited by its own faculty, or 
the receptivity of its subject ; but we must be 
quite sure that the form is, in either instance, 
equally ethereal or immaterial. And it will 
not be out of place here to refer to the standing 
joke of the sceptics, about ghosts appearing in 
coats and waistcoats. Bentham thought he 
had settled the question for ever by that ob- 
jection ; and I have heard it since frequently 
advanced by very acute persons, but, properly 
considered, it has not the least validity. 

Whether or not the soul on leaving its earthly 
tabernacle finds itself at once clothed with that 
spiritual body, which St. Paul refers to, is 
what we cannot know, though it seems highly 
probable ; but if it be so, we must be sure 
that this body resembles in its nature, that 


fluent subtle kind of matter, called by us im- 
ponderables, which are capable of penetrating 
all substances ; and unless there be no visible 
body at all, but only the will of a disembodied 
spirit acting upon one yet in the flesh, in which 
case it were as easy to impress the imagination 
with a clothed figure as an unclothed one, we 
must conclude that this ethereal flexible form, 
whether permanent or temporary, may be 
held together and retain its shape by the 
volition of the spirit, as our bodies are held 
together by the principle of life that is in 
them ; and we see in various instances, where 
the spectator has been bold enough to try the 
experiment, that though the shadowy body 
was pervious to any substance passed through 
it, its integrity was only momentarily inter- 
rupted, and it immediately recovered its pre- 
vious shape. Now, as a spirit, provided there 
be no especial law to the contrary, partial or 
universal, absolute or otherwise, governing the 
spiritual world must be where its thoughts 
and wishes are, just as we should be at the 
place we intently think of, or desire, if our 
solid bodies did not impede us, so must a spirit 
appear as it is, or as it conceives of itself; 
morally, it can only conceive of itself as it is, 
good or bad, light or dark ; but it may con- 


ceive of itself clothed as well as unclothed ; 
and if it can conceive of its former body, it can 
equally conceive of its former habiliments ; and 
so represent them, by its power of will to the 
eye, or present them to the constructive ima- 
gination of the seer ; and it will be able to do 
this with a degree of distinctness proportioned 
to the receptivity of the latter, or to the in- 
tensity of the rapport which exists between 
them. Now, considered in this way, the 
appearance of a spirit " in its habit as it 
lived," is no more extraordinary than the 
appearance of a spirit at all, and it adds no 
complexity to the phenomenon. If it appears 
at all, in a recognizable form, it must come 
naked or clothed ; the former, to say the least 
of it, would be much more frightful and 
shocking ; and if it be clothed, I do not see 
what right we have to expect it shall be in a 
fancy costume, conformable to our ideas, which 
are no ideas at all, of the other world; nor 
why, if it be endowed with the memory of 
the past, it should not be natural to suppose it 
would assume the external aspect it wore, 
during its earthly pilgrimage. Certain it is, 
whether consistent with our notions or not, 
all tradition seems to show that this is the 
appearance they assume; and the very fact, 


that on the first view of the case, and until 
the question is philosophically considered, the 
addition of a suit of clothes to the phenome- 
non, not only renders its acceptance much 
more difficult, but throws an air of absurdity 
and improbability on the whole subject, fur- 
nishes a very strong argument in favour of the 
persuasion, that this notion has been founded 
on experience, and is not the result either of 
fancy or gratuitous invention. The idea of 
spirits appearing like angels, with wings, &c. 
seems to be drawn from these relations in the 
Bible, when messengers were sent from God 
to man ; but those departed spirits are not 
angels, though probably destined in the course 
of ages to become so ; in the mean time, their 
moral state continues as when they quitted the 
body, and their memories and affections are 
with the earth, and so, earthly they appear, 
more or less. We meet with some instances 
in which bright spirits have been seen ; pro- 
tecting spirits, for example, who have shaken 
ofl their earth entirely, clinging to it yet but by 
some holy affection or mission of mercy, and 
these appear, not with wings, which whenever 
seen are merely symbolical, for we cannot 
imagine they are necessary to the motion of a 
spirit, but clothed in robes of light. Such 
TOT., i. 2 H 


appearances, however, seem much more rare 
than the others. It will seem to many per- 
sons very inconsistent with their ideas of the 
dignity of a spirit that they should appear and 
act in the manner I have descrihed, and shall 
describe further ; and I have heard it objected 
that we cannot suppose God would permit the 
dead to return merely to frighten the living, 
and that it is showing him little reverence to 
imagine he would suffer them to come on 
such trifling errands, or demean themselves in 
so undignified a fashion. But God permits 
men of all degrees of wickedness, and of even- 
kind of absurdity, to exist, and to harrass and 
disturb the earth, whilst they expose them- 
selves to its obloquy or its ridicule. 

Now, as I have observed in a former 
chapter, there is nothing more perplexing to 
us in regarding man as a responsible being, 
than the degree to which we have reason to 
believe his moral nature is influenced by his 
physical organization ; but leaving this diffi- 
cult question to be decided if ever it can be de- 
cided in this world by wiser heads than mine, 
there is one thing of which we may rest per- 
fectly assured, namely, that let the fault of an 
impure, or vicious, or even merely sensuous 
Jife, lie where it will whether it be the wicked 


spirit within, or the ill-organized body with- 
out, or a tertium quid of both combined, still, 
the soul that has been a party to this earthly 
career, must be soiled and deteriorated by its 
familiarity with evil ; and there seems much 
reason to believe that the dissolution of the 
connexion between the soul and body, pro- 
duces far less change in the former than has 
been commonly supposed. People generally 
think, if they think on the subject at all, that 
as soon as they are dead, provided they have 
lived tolerably virtuous lives, or indeed been 
free from any great crimes, they will imme- 
diately find themselves provided with wings, 
and straightway fly up to some delightful place, 
which they call heaven, forgetting how unfit 
they are for heavenly fellowship ; and although 
I cannot help thinking that the Almighty has 
mercifully permitted occasional relaxations of 
the boundaries that separate the dead from the 
living, for the purpose of showing us our 
error, we are determined not to avail ourselves 
of the advantage. I do not mean that these 
spirits these revenantsorrestants are special 
messengers sent to warn us ; I only mean that 
their occasionally " revisiting the glimpses of 
the moon" form the exceptional cases in a 
great general law of nature, which divides the 


spiritual from the material world ; and that in 
framing this law, these exceptions may have 
been designed for our benefit. 

There are several stories extant in the 
English, and a vast number in the German 
records, which, supposing them to be well 
founded and I repeat, that for many of them 
we have just as good evidence as for anything 
else we believe as hearsay or tradition would 
go to confirm the fact that the spirits of the 
dead are sometimes disturbed by what, appear 
to us very trifling cares. I give the following 
case from Dr. Kernel*, who says it was related 
to him by a very respectable man, on whose 
word he can entirely rely. 

" I was," said Mr. St. S., of S , the son 
of a man who had no fortune but his business, 
in which he was ultimately successful. At first, 
however, his means being narrow, he was per- 
haps too anxious and inclined to parsimony ; 
so that when my mother, careful housewife as 
she was, asked him for money, the demand 
generally led to a quarrel. This occasioned 
her great uneasiness, and having mentioned 
this characteristic of her husband to her father, 
the old man advised her to get a second key 
made to the money-chest, unknown to her 
husband, considering this expedient allowabl e 


and even preferable to the destruction of their 
conjugal felicity, and feeling satisfied that she 
would make no ill use of the power possessed. 
My mother followed his advice, very much to 
the advantage of all parties ; and nobody sus- 
pected the existence of this second key, except 
myself, whom she had admitted into her con- 
fidence. Two and twenty years my parents 
lived happily together, when I, being at the 
time about eighteen hours journey from home, 
received a letter from my father informing me 
that she was ill ; that he hoped for her speedy 
amendment; but that if she grew worse he 
would send a horse to fetch me home to see 
her. I was extremely busy at that time, and 
therefore waited for further intelligence, and as 
several days elapsed without any reaching me, I 
trusted my mother was convalescent. One night, 
feeling myself unwell, I had lain down on the 
bed with my clothes on to take a little rest. 
It was between eleven and twelve o'clock, and 
I had not been to sleep, when some one 
knocked at the door, and my mother entered, 
dressed as she usually was. She saluted me, 
and said, ' We shall see each other no more in 
this world, but I have an injunction to give 
you. I have given that key to R. (naming a 
servant \ve then had), and she will remit it tcf 
2 H 5 


you. Keep it carefully, or throw it into the 
water, but never let your father see it; it would 
trouble him. Farewell, and walk virtuously 
through life !' And with these words she 
turned and quitted the room by the door, as 
she had entered it. I immediately arose, 
called up my people, expressed my apprehen- 
sion that my mother was dead, and, without 
further delay, started for home. As I ap- 
proached the house, R., the maid, came put, 
and informed me that my mother had expired 
betwixt the hours of eleven and twelve on the 
preceding night. As there was another 
person present at the moment, she said nothing 
further to me, but she took an early oppor- 
tunity of remitting me the key, saying that 
rny mother had given it to her just before she 
expired, desiring her to place it in my hands, 
with an injunction that I should keep it care- 
fully, or fling it into the water, so that my 
father might never know anything about it. I 
took the key, kept it for some years, and at 
length threw it into the Lahne." 

I am aware that it may be objected by those 
who believe in wraiths, but in no other kind 
of apparition, that this phenomenon occurred 
before the death of the lady, and that it was 
produced by her energetic anxiety with regard 


to the key ; it may be so, or it may not ; but at 
all events, we see in this case how a compara- 
tively trifling uneasiness may disturb a dying 
person, and how therefore if memory remains 
to them, they may carry it with them, and 
seek by such means as they have, to obtain re- 
lief from it. 

A remarkable instance of anxiety for the 
welfare of those left behind, is exhibited in 
the following story, which I received from a 
member of the family concerned : Mrs. R., a 
lady very well connected, lost her husband 
when in the prime of life, and found herself 
with fourteen children, unprovided for. The 
overwhelming nature of the calamity depressed 
her energies to such a degree as to render her 
incapable of those exertions which could alone 
redeem them from ruin. The flood of mis- 
fortune seemed too strong for her, and she 
yielded to it without resistance. She had thus 
given way to despondency some time, when one 
day, as she was sitting alone, the door opened 
and her mother, who had been a considerable 
time dead, entered the room and addressed her, 
reproving her for this weak indulgence of use- 
less sorrow, and bidding her exert herself for 
the sake of her children. From that period 
she threw off the depression, set actively to 


work to promote the fortunes of her family, 
and succeeded so well that they ultimately 
emerged from all their difficulties. I asked 
the gentleman who related this circumstance 
to me, whether he believed it. He answered 
that he could only assure me that she herself 
affirmed the fact, and that she avowedly attri- 
buted the sudden change in her character and 
conduct to this cause for his own part, he did 
not know what to say finding it difficult to 
believe in the possibility of such a visit from 
the dead. 

A somewhat similar instance is related by 
Dr. Kerner, which, he says, he received from 
the party himself, a man of sense and probity. 
This gentleman, Mr. F., at an early age lost 
his mother. Two and twenty years afterwards 
he formed an attachment to a young person, 
whose hand he resolved to ask in marriage. 
Having, one evening, seated himself at his 
desk, for the purpose of writing his proposal, 
he was amazed, on accidentally lifting his eyes 
from the paper, to see his mother looking ex- 
actly as if alive, seated opposite to him; whilst 
she, raising her finger with a warning gesture, 
said, "Do not that thing!" Not the least 
alarmed, Mr. F. started up to approach her, 
whereupon she disappeared. Being very much 


attached to the lady however, he did not feel 
disposed to follow her counsel; but having 
read the letter to his father, who highly 
approved of the match and who laughed at 
the ghost, he returned to his chamber to seal 
it, when whilst he was adding the superscrip- 
tion, she again appeared as before, and 
reiterated her injunction. But love conquered ; 
the letter was dispatched, the marriage ensued, 
and after ten years of strife and unhappiness 
Avas dissolved by a judicial process. 

A remarkable circumstance occurred, about 
forty years ago, in the family of Dr. Paulus at 
Stuttgard. The wife of the head of the family 
having died, they, with some of their con- 
nexions, were sitting at table a few days 
afterwards, in the room adjoining that in which 
the corpse lay, when, suddenly the door of the 
latter apartment opened, and the figure of the 
mother, clad in white robes, entered, and 
saluting them as she passed, walked slowly 
and noiselessly through the room, arid then 
disappeared again through the door by which 
she had entered. The whole company saw 
the apparition ; but the father who was at that 
time quite in health, died eight days after- 

Madame R. had promised an old wood- 


cutter, who had a particular horror of dying 
in the poor-house, because he knew his body 
would be given to the surgeons, that she 
would take care to see him properly interred. 
The old man lived some years afterwards, and 
she had quite lost sight of him, and indeed 
forgotten the circumstance, when she was one 
night awakened by the sound of some one 
cutting wood in her bed-chamber; and so 
perfect was the imitation, that she heard every 
log flung aside as separated. She started up, 
exclaiming, " The old man must be dead !" and 
so it proved; his last anxiety having been 
that Madame R. should remember her promise. 
That our interest in whatever has much 
concerned us in this life, accompanies us 
beyond the grave, seems to be proved by many 
stories I meet with, and the following is of 
undoubted authenticity : Some years ago, a 
music-master died at Erfrert at the age of 
seventy. He was a miser, and had never 
looked with very friendly eyes on Professor 
Rinck, the composer who he knew was likely 
to succeed to his classes. The old man had 
lived and died in an apartment adjoining the 
class-room ; and the first day that Rinck 
entered on his office, whilst the scholars were 
singing Aus der tiefe ruf iclt dich, which is a 


paraphrase of the De profundis, he thought he 
saw through a hole or bull's eye there was in 
the door something moving about the inner 
chamber. As the room was \oid of every kind 
of furniture, and nobody could possibly be in 
it, Rinck looked more fixedly; when he 
distinctly saw a shadow, whose movements 
were accompanied by a strange rustling sound. 
Perplexed at the circumstance, he told his 
pupils that on the following day he should 
require them to repeat the same choral. They 
did so; and whilst they were singing, Rinck 
saw a person walking backwards and forwards 
in the next room, who frequently approached 
the hole in the door. Very much struck with 
so extraordinary a circumstance, Rinck had 
the choral repeated on the ensuing day ; and 
this time his suspicions were fully confirmed ; 
the old man, his predecessor, approaching the 
door, and gazing steadfastly into the class- 
room. " His face," said Rinck, in relating the 
story to Dr. Mainzer, who has obligingly fur- 
nished it to me as entered in his journal at the 
time, " his face was of an ashy grey. The 
apparition," he added " never more appeared 
to me, although I frequently had the choral 
"I am no believer in ghost-stories," he added, 


" nor in the least superstitious ; nevertheless I 
cannot help admitting that I have seen this, it 
is impossible for me ever to doubt or to deny 
that which I know I saw." 



IN all ages of the world, and in all parts of it, 
mankind have earnestly desired to learn the 
fate that awaited them when they had " shuf- 
fled off this mortal coil ;" and those pretend- 
ing to be their instructors have built up dif- 
ferent systems which have stood in the stead 
of knowledge, and more or less satisfied the 
bulk of the people. The interest on this sub- 
ject is, at the present period, in the most highly 
civilized portions of the globe, less than it has 
been at any preceding one. The great pro- 
portion of us live for this world alone, and 
VOL. i. 2 i 


think very little of the next ; we are in too 
great a hurry of pleasure or business to be- 
stow any time on a subject of which we have 
such vague notions notions so vague, that, 
in short, we can scarcely by any effort of the 
imagination bring the idea home to ourselves; 
and when we are about to die we are seldom 
in a situation to do more than resign ourselves 
to what is inevitable, and blindly meet our 
fate ; whilst, on the other hand, what is gene- 
rally called the religious world, is so engrossed 
by its struggles for power and money, or by 
its sectarian disputes and enmities; and so 
narrowed and circumscribed by dogmatic 
orthodoxies, that it has neither inclination nor 
liberty to turn back or look around, and en- 
deavour to gather up from past records and 
present observation such hints as are now and 
again dropt in our path, to give us an inti- 
mation of what the truth may be. The ration- 
alistic age, too, out of which we are only just 
emerging, and which succeeded one of gross 
superstition, having settled, beyond appeal, 
that there never was such a thing as a ghost 
that the dead never do come back to tell us 
the secrets of their prison-house, and that no- 
body believes such idle tales but children and 
old women, seemed to have shut the door 


against the only channel through which any 
information could be sought. Revelation tells 
us very little on this subject, reason can tell us 
nothing ; and if nature is equally silent, or if 
we are to be deterred from questioning her 
from the fear of ridicule, there is certainly no 
resource left for us but to rest contented in 
our ignorance ; and each wait till the awful 
secret is disclosed to ourselves. A great many 
things have been pronounced untrue and 
absurd, and even impossible, by the highest 
authorities in the age in which they lived, 
which have afterwards, and indeed within a 
very short period, been found to be both pos- 
sible and true. I confess myself, for one, to 
have no respect whatever for these dogmatic 
denials and affirmations, and I am quite ot 
opinion that vulgar incredulity is a much 
more contemptible thing than vulgar credulity. 
We know very little of what is, and still less of 
what may be ; and till a thing has been proved, 
by induction logically impossible, we have no 
right whatever to pronounce that it is so* As I 
have said before, d priori conclusions are per- 
fectly worthless j and the sort of investigation 
that is bestowed upon subjects of the class of 
which I am treating, something worse; inasmuch 
as they deceive the timid and the igtforant, and 


that very numerous class which pins its 
faith on authority and never ventures to think 
for itself, by an assumption of wisdom and 
knowledge, which, if examined and analysed, 
would very frequently prove to be nothing- 
more respectable than obstinate prejudice and 
rash assertion. 

For my own part, I repeat, I insist upon 
nothing. The opinions I have formed from 
the evidence collected, may be quite erroneous; 
if so, as I seek only the truth, I shall be glad 
to be undeceived and shall be quite ready to 
accept a better explanation of these facts, 
whenever it is offered to me ; but it is in vain 
to tell me that this explanation is to be found 
in what is called imagination, or in a morbid 
stale of the nerves, or an unusual excitement 
of the organs of colour and form, or in im- 
posture ; or in all these together. The existence 
of all such sources of error and delusion,! am far 
from denying, but I find instances that it is 
quite impossible to reduce under any one of 
those categories, as we at present understand 
them. The multiplicity of these instances, 
too for not to mention the large number that 
are never made known or carefully concealed, 
if I were to avail myself liberally of cases 
already recorded in various works, many ot 


which I know, and many others I hear of as 
existing, but which I cannot conveniently get 
access to, I might fill volumes German lite- 
rature abounds in them the number of the 
examples, I repeat, even on the supposition 
that they are not facts, would of itself form 
the subject of a very curious physiological or 
psychological enquiry. If so many people in 
respectable situations of life, and in apparently 
a normal state of health, are either capable of 
such gross impostures, or the subjects of such 
extraordinary spectral illusions, it Would cer- 
tainly be extremely satisfactory to learn some* 
thing of the conditions that induce these 
phenomena in such abundance ; and all I 
expect from my book at present is, to induce 
a suspicion that we are not quite so wise as we 
think ourselves ; and that it might be worth 
while to enquire a little seriously into reports, 
which may perchance turn out to have a 
deeper interest for us, than all those various 
questions, public and private, put together, 
with which we are daily agitating ourselves* 

I have alluded in an earlier part of this 
work, to the belief entertained by the ancients, 
that the souls of men on being disengaged 
from the bodies, passed into a middle state, 
called Hades, in which their portions seemed 
2 i o 


neither to be that of complete happiness nor 
of insupportable misery. They retained their 
personality, their human form, their memory 
of the past, and their interest in those that had 
been dear to them on earth. Communications 
were occasionally made by the dead to the 
living ; they mourned over their duties ne- 
glected and their errors committed ; many of 
their mortal feelings, passions and propen- 
sities, seemed to survive ; and they sometimes 
sought to repair, through the instrumentality 
of the living, the injuries they had formerly 
inflicted. In short, death was merely a tran- 
sition from one condition of life to another ; 
but in this latter state, although we do not 
see them condemned to undergo any torments, 
we perceive that they are not happy. There 
are indeed compartments in this dark region ; 
there is Tartarus for the wicked, and the 
Elysian fields for the good, but they are com- 
paratively thinly peopled. It is in the mid 
region that these pale shades abound, con- 
sistently with the fact, that here on earth, 
moral, as well as intellectual, mediocrity is the 
rule; and extremes of good or evil the ex- 

With regard to the opinion entertained oi a 
future state by the Hebrews, the Old Testa- 


ment gives us very little information ; but 
what glimpses we do obtain of it, appears to 
exhibit notions analogous to those of the 
heathen nations, inasmuch as that the person- 
ality and the form seem to be retained, and 
the possibility of these departed spirits re- 
visiting the earth and holding commune with 
the living is admitted. The request of the 
rich man, also, that Lazarus might be sent to 
warn his brethren, yet alive, of his own 
miserable condition, testifies to the existence of 
these opinions ; and it is worthy of remark, 
that the favour is denied, not because its per- 
formance is impossible, but because the mission 
would be unavailing a prediction which, it 
appears to me, time has singularly justified. 
Altogether, the notion that in the state entered 
upon after we leave this world, the personality 
and form are retained, that these shades some- 
times revisit the earth, and that the memory 
of the past still survives, seems to be universal; 
for it is found to exist amongst all people, 
savage and civilized ; and if not founded on 
observation and experience, it becomes difficult 
to account for such unanimity on a subject 
Avhich I think, speculatively considered, would 
not have been productive of such results ; and 
one proof of this is, that those who reject such 


testimony and tradition as we have in regard 
to it, and rely only on their own understand- 
ings, appear to be pretty uniformly led to form 
opposite conclusions. They cannot discern 
the mode of such a phenomenon ; it is open 
to all sorts of scientific objections, and the cui 
bono sticks in their teeth. 

This position being admitted, as I think it 
must be, we have but one resource left, where- 
by to account for the universability of this 
persuasion ; which is, that in all periods and 
places, both mankind and womenkind, as well 
in health as in sickness, have been liable to a 
series of spectral illusions of a most extra- 
ordinary and complicated nature, and bearing 
such a remarkable similarity to each other, in 
regard to the objects supposed to be seen or 
heard, that they have been universally led to 
the same erroneous interpretation of the phe- 
nomenon. It is manifestly not impossible 
that this may be the case ; and if it be so, it 
becomes the business of physiologists to en- 
quire into the matter, and give us some account 
of it. In the mean time, we may be permitted 
to take the other view of the question, and 
examine what probabilities seem to be in its 

When the body is about to die, that which 


cannot die, and which, to spare words, I will 
call the soul, departs from it ; whither ? We 
do not know ; but, in the first place, we have 
no reason to believe that the space destined 
for its habitation is far removed from the earth, 
since, knowing nothing about it, we are equally 
entitled to suppose the contrary ; and, in the 
next, that which we call distance is a condition 
that merely regards material objects, and of 
which a spirit is quite independent, just as our 
thoughts are, which can travel from here to 
China, and back again, in a second of time. 
Well, then, supposing this being to exist 
somewhere, and it is not unreasonable to sup- 
pose that the souls of the inhabitants of each 
planet continue to hover within the sphere of 
that planet, to which, for anything we can tell, 
they may be attached by a magnetic attraction, 
supposing it to find itself in space, free of the 
body, endowed with the memory of the past, 
and consequently with a consciousness of its 
own deserts, able to perceive that which we do 
not ordinarily perceive, namely, those who 
have passed into a similar state with itself, will 
it not naturally seek its place amongst those 
spirits which most resemble itself, and with 
whom, therefore, it must have the most affinity ? 
On earth, the good seek the good, and the 


wicked the wicked : and the axiom that " like 
associates with like," we cannot doubt will be 
as true hereafter as now. " In my father's 
house there are many mansions," and our in- 
tuitive sense of what is fit and just mnst needs 
assure us that this is so. There are too many 
degrees of moral worth and of moral unworth 
amongst mankind, to permit of our supposing 
that justice could be satisfied by an abrupt 
division into two opposite classes. On the 
contrary, there must be infinite shades of 
desert, and,as we mustconsider that that which 
a spirit enters into on leaving the body, is not 
so much a place as a condition^ so there must 
be as many degrees of happiness or suffering 
as there are individuals, each carrying with 
him his own Heaven or Hell. For it is a 
vulgar notion to imagine that Heaven and Hell 
are places ; they are states ; and it is in our- 
selves we must look for both. When we leave 
the body, we carry them with us ; " as the tree 
falls, so it shall lie." The soul which here 
has wallowed in wickedness or been sunk in 
sensuality, will not be suddenly purified by 
the death of the body ; its moral condition 
remains wbat its earthly sojourn has trained 
it to, but its means of indulging its propen- 
sities are lost. If it has had no godly aspira- 


tions here, it will not be drawn to God there ; 
and if it has so bound itself to the body that it 
has known no happiness but that to which the 
body ministered, it will be incapable of hap- 
piness when deprived of that means of enjoy- 
ment. Here we see at once what a variety 
of conditions must necessarily ensue; how 
many comparatively negative states there must 
be betwixt those of positive happiness or 
positive misery. 

We may thus conceive how a soul, on en- 
tering upon this new condition, must find its 
own place or state; if its thoughts and aspi- 
rations here have been heavenward, and its pur- 
suits noble, its conditions will be heavenly. 
The contemplation of God's works, seen not as 
by our mortal eyes, but in their beauty and 
their truth, and ever-glowing sentiments 
of love and gratitude, and, for aught we know, 
good offices to souls in need, would constitute 
a suitable heaven, or happiness for such a 
being ; an incapacity for such pleasures, and 
the absence of all others, would constitute a 
negative state, in which the chief suffering 
would consist in mournful regrets and a vague 
longing for something better, which the un- 
trained soul that never lifted itself from the 
earth, knows not how to seek ; whilst malig- 


nant passions and unquenchable desires would 
constitute the appropriate hell of the wicked ; 
for we must remember, that although a spirit is 
independent of those physical laws which are 
the conditions of matter, the moral law, which 
is indestructible, belongs peculiarly to it that 
is, to the spirit, and is inseparable from it. 

We must next remember, that this earthly 
body we inhabit is more or less a mask, by 
means of which we conceal from each other 
those thoughts which, if constantly exposed, 
would unfit us for living in community ; but 
when we die, this mask falls away, and the 
truth' shows nakedly. There is no more dis- 
guise ; we appear as we are, spirits of light or 
spirits of darkness ; and there can be no diffi- 
culty, I should think, in conceiving this, since 
we know that even our present opaque and 
comparatively inflexible features, in spite of 
all efforts to the contrary, will be the index 
of the mind ; and that the expression of the 
face is gradually moulded to the fashion of the 
thoughts. How much more must this be the case 
with the fluent and diaphanous body which 
we expect is to succeed the fleshly one ! 

Thus, I think, we have arrived at forming 
some conception of the state that awaits us 
hereafter ; the indestructible moral law fixes 


our place or condition ; affinity governs our 
associations; and the mask under which we 
conceal ourselves having fallen away, we ap- 
pear to each other as we are : and I must here 
observe, that in this last circumstance, must be 
comprised one very important element of 
happiness or misery ; for the love of the pure 
spirits for each other will be for ever excited 
by simply beholding that beauty and bright- 
ness which will be the inalienable expression 
of their goodness ; whilst the reverse will be the 
case with the spirits of darkness ; for no one 
loves wickedness, either in themselves or 
others, however we may practice it. We must 
also understand, that the words dark and light, 
which in this world of appearance we use 
metaphorically to express good and evil, must 
be understood literally when speaking of that 
other world where everything will be seen as 
it is. Goodness is truth, and truth is light ; 
and wickedness is falsehood, and falsehood is 
darkness, and so it will be seen to be. Those 
who have not the light of truth to guide them 
will wander darkly through this valley of the 
shadow of death; those in whom the light 
of goodness shines will dwell in the light, 
which is inherent in themselves. The former 
will be in the kingdom of darkness, the latter in 
VOL. i. 2 K 


the kingdom of light. All the records existing 
of the blessed spirits that have appeared, 
ancient or modern, exhibit them as robed in 
light, whilst their anger or sorrow is sym- 
bolised by their darkness. Now, there appears 
to me nothing incomprehensible in this view 
of the future ; on the contrary, it is the only 
one which I ever found myself capable of con- 
ceiving or reconciling with the justice and 
mercy of our Creator, He does not punish us, 
we punish ourselves ; we have built up a 
heaven or a hell to our own liking, and we 
carry it with us. The fire that for ever burns 
without consuming, is the fiery evil in which 
we have chosen our part ; and the heaven 
in which we shall dwell will be the heavenly 
peace which will dwell in us. We are our own 
judges and our own chastisers; and here 
I must say a few words on the subject of that, 
apparently to us, preternatural memory which 
is developed under certain circumstances, and 
to which I alluded in a former chapter. Every 
one will have heard that persons who have 
been drowned and recovered have had, in 
what would have been their last moments, had 
no means been used to revive them, a strange 
vision of the past, in which their whole life 
seemed to float before them in review ; and I 


have heard of the same phenomenon taking 
place in moments of impending death, in other 
forms. Now, as it is not during the struggle 
for life, but immediately before insensibility 
ensues, that this vision occurs, it must be the 
act of a moment ; and this renders compre- 
hensible to us what is said by the Seeress of 
Prevorst, and other somnambules of the highest 
order, namely, that the instant the soul is 
freed from the body it sees its whole earthly 
career in a single sign ; it knows that it is 
good or evil, and pronounces its own sentence. 
The extraordinary memory occasionally ex- 
hibited in sickness where the link between 
the soul and the body is probably loosened, 
shows us an adumbration of this faculty. 

But this self-pronounced sentence, we are 
led to hope is not final, nor does it seem con- 
sistent with the love and mercy of God that it 
should be so. There must be few, indeed, 
who leave this earth fit for heaven ; for al- 
though the immediate frame of mind in which 
dissolution takes place, is probably very im- 
portant, it is surely a pernicious error, en- 
couraged by jail chaplains and philanthropists, 
that a late repentance and a few parting prayers 
can purify a soul sullied by years of wicked- 
ness. Would we at once receive such an one 
into our intimate communion and love ? 


Should we not require time for the stains of 
vice to be washed away and habits of virtue to 
be formed ? Assuredly we should ! And how 
can we imagine that the purity of heaven is to 
be sullied by that approximation that the 
purity of earth would forbid ? It would be 
cruel to say, and irrational to think, that this 
late repentance is of no avail ; it is doubtless 
so far of avail that the straining upwards and 
the heavenly aspirations of the parting soul 
are carried with it, so that when it is free, 
instead of choosing the darkness, it will flee 
to as much light as is in itself; and be ready, 
through the mercy of God and the ministering 
of brighter spirits, to receive more. But in 
this case, as also in the innumerable instances 
of those who die in what may be called a ne- 
gative state, the advance must be progressive, 
though wherever the desire exists, I must be- 
lieve that this advance is possible. If not, 
wherefore did Christ, after being "put to 
death in the flesh,'* go and "preach to the 
spirits in prison ?" It would have been a 
mockery to preach salvation to those who had 
no hope ; nor would they, having no hope, have 
listened to the preacher. 

I think these views are at once cheering, 
encouraging, and beautiful ; and I cannot but 
believe, that were they more generally enter- 


tained and more intimately conceived, they 
would be very beneficial in their effects. As I 
have said before, the extremely vague notions 
people have of a future life, prevent the possi- 
bility of its exercising any great influence upon? 
the present. The picture, on one side, is too- 
revolting and inconsistent with our ideas of 
Divine goodness to be deliberately accepted ; 
whilst, with regard to the other, our feelings 
somewhat resemble those of a little girl, I once 
knew, who, being told by her mother what 
was to be the reward of goodness if she were 
so happy as to reach heaven, put her finger in 
her eye and began to cry, exclaiming, " Oh, 
mamma I 1 how tired I shall be singing I'* 

The question which will now naturally 
arise, and which I am bound to answer, is, 
How have these views been formed ? and what 
is the authority for them ? and the answer I 
have to make will startle many minds, when I 
say, that they have been gathered from two- 
sources ; first and chiefly from the state in 
which those spirits appear to be, and some- 
ti mes avow themselves to be, who, after quit- 
ting the earth, return to it and make themselves 
visible to the living ; and, secondly, from the 
revelations of numerous somnambules of the 
highest order, which entirely conform in all 
2 K 5 


cases, not only with the revelations of the 
dead, but with each other. I do not mean to 
imply, when I say this, that I consider the 
question finally settled, as to whether sornnam- 
bulesare really clear-seers or only visionaries ; 
nor that I have by any means established the 
fact that the dead do sometimes actually re- 
turn ; but I am obliged to beg the question 
for the moment, since whether these sources 
be pure or impure, it is from them the infor- 
mation has been collected. It is true, that 
these views are extremely conformable with 
those entertained by Plato and his school of 
philosophers; and also with those of the 
mystics of a later age ; but the latter certainly, 
and the former probably, built up their systems 
on the same foundation ; and I am very far 
from using the term mystics in the opprobrious, 
or at least contemptuous, tone in which it has 
of late years been uttered in this country ; for 
although abounding in errors, as regarded the 
concrete, and although their want of an in- 
ductive methodology led them constantly 
astray in the region of the real, they were 
sublime teachers in that of the ideal ; and they 
seem to have been endowed with a wonderful 
insight into this veiled department of our 


It may be here objected, that we only admire 
their insight, because, being in entire igno- 
rance of the subject of it, we accept raving 
for revelation ; and that no weight can be 
attached to the conformity of later disclosures 
with theirs, since they have no doubt been 
founded upon them. As to the ignorance, it 
is admitted ; and, simply looking at their views, 
as they stand, they have nothing to support 
them but their sublimity and consistency ; but, 
as regards the value of the evidence afforded 
by conformity, it rests on very different 
grounds; for the reporters from whom we 
collect our intelligence are, with very few 
exceptions, those of whom we may safely 
predicate, that they were wholly unacquainted 
with the systems promulgated by the Platonic 
philosophers, or the mystics either, nor, in 
most instances, had ever heard of their names ; 
for, as regards that peculiar somnambulic 
state which is here referred to, the subjects 
of it appear to be generally very young people 
of either sex, and chiefly girls ; and, as re- 
gards ghost- seeing, although this phenomenon 
seems to have no connexion with the age of 
the seer, yet it is not usually from the learned 
or the cultivated we collect our cases, inas- 


much as the apprehension of ridicule, on the 
one hand, and the fast hold the doctrine of 
spectral illusions has taken of them, on the 
other, prevent their believing 1 in their own 
senses, or producing any evidence they might 
have to furnish. 

And here will be offered another subtle ob- 
jection, namely, that the testimony of such 
witnesses as I have above described is per- 
fectly worthless ; but this I deny. The som- 
nambulic states I allude to, are such as have 
been developed, not artificially, but naturally ; 
and often under very extraordinary nervous 
diseases, accompanied with catalepsy, and 
various symptoms far beyond feigning. Such 
cases are rare, and, in this country, seem to 
have been very little observed, for doubtless 
they must occur, and when they do occur, they 
are very carefully concealed by the families of 
the patient, and not followed up or investi- 
gated as a psychological phenomenon by the 
physician ; for it is to be observed that, with- 
out questioning no revelations are made ; they 
are not, as far as I know, ever spontaneous. 
I have heard of two such cases in this country, 
both occurring in the higher classes, and both 
patients being young ladies; but, although 


surprising phenomena were exhibited, interro- 
gation was not permitted, and the particulars 
were never allowed to transpire. 

No doubt there are examples of error and 
examples of imposture, so there are in every- 
thing where room is to be found for them ; 
and I am quite aware of the propensity of 
hysterical patients to deceive, but it is for the 
judicious observers to examine the genuineness 
of each particular instance; and it is perfectly 
certain and well established by the German 
physiologists and psychologists, who have 
carefully studied the subject, that there are 
many above all suspicion. Provided, then, 
that the case be genuine, it remains to be de- 
termined how much value is to be attached to 
the revelations, for they may be quite honestly 
delivered, and yet be utterly worthless the 
mere ravings of a disordered brain ; and it is 
here that conformity becomes important, for I 
cannot admit the objection that the simple 
circumstance of the patient's being diseased 
invalidates their evidence so entirely as to 
annul even the value of their unanimity, be- 
cause although it is not logically impossible, 
that a certain state of nervous derangement 
should occasion all somnambules, of the class 
in question, to make similar answers, when 


interrogated, regarding a subject of which in 
their normal condition they know nothing, 
and on which they have never reflected, and 
that these answers should be not only con- 
sistent, but disclosing far more elevated views 
than are evolved by minds of a very superior 
order which have reflected on it very deeply 
I say, although this is not logically impossible, 
it will assuredly be found, by most persons, an 
hypothesis of much more difficult acceptance 
than the one I propose ; namely, that what- 
ever be the cause of the effect, these patients 
are in a state of clear-seeing, wherein they 
have "more than mortal knowledge;" that is, 
more knowledge than mortals possess in their 
normal condition : and it must not be for- 
gotten, that we have some facts confessed by 
all experienced physicians and physiologists, 
even in this country, proving that there are 
states of disease in which preternatural faculties 
have been developed, such as no theory has 
yet satisfactorily accounted for. 

But Dr. Passavent, who has written a very 
philosophical work on the subject of vital 
magnetism and clear-seeing, asserts, that it is 
an error to imagine that the extatic condition 
is merely the product of disease. He says, 
that it has sometimes exhibited itself in 


persons of very vigorous constitutions, in- 
stancing Joan of Arc, a woman, whom his- 
torians have little understood, and whose 
memory Voltaire's detestable poem has ridi- 
culed and degraded, but who was, neverthe- 
less, a great psychological phenomenon. 

The circumstance, too, that phenomena of 
this kind are more frequently developed in 
women than in men, and that they are merely 
the consequence of her greater nervous irrita- 
bility has been made another objection to 
them an objection, however, which Dr. 
Passavent considers founded on ignorance of 
the essential difference between the sexes, 
which is not merely a physical but a psycho- 
logical one. Man is more productive than 
receptive. In a state of perfectibility, both 
attributes would be equally developed in him ; 
but in this terrestrial life, only imperfect 
phases of the entire sum of the soul's faculties 
are so. Mankind are but children, male or 
female, young or old: of man, in his totality, 
we have but faint adumbrations, here and there. 

Thus the extatic woman will be more fre- 
quently a seer, instinctive and intuitive ; man, 
a doer and a worker ; and as all genius is a 
degree of extacy or clear-seeing, we perceive 
the reason wherefore in man it is more pro- 


ductive than in woman, and that our greatest 
poets and artists, in all kinds, are of the former 
sex, and even the most remarkable women 
produce but little in science or art ; whilst on 
the other hand, the feminine instinct, and tact, 
and intuitive seeing of truth, is frequently 
more sure than the ripe and deliberate judg- 
ment of man : and it is hence that solitude 
and such conditions as develop the passive 
or receptive at the expense of the active, 
tend to produce this state, and to assimilate 
the man more to the nature of the woman ; 
whilst in her they intensify these distinguish- 
ing characteristics: and this is also the reason 
that simple and child-like people and races are 
the most frequent subjects of these phenomena. 
It is only necessary to read Mozart's account 
of his own moments of inspiration, to com- 
prehend, not only the similarity, but the posi- 
tive identity of the extatic state with the state 
of genius in activity. " When all goes well 
with me," he says, " when I am in a carriage, 
or walking, or when I cannot sleep at night, 
the thoughts come streaming in upon me most 
fluently. Whence, or how, is more than I con 
tell. What comes, I hum to myself, as it pro- 
ceeds then follows the counterpoint 

and the clang of the different instruments, and 


if I am not disturbed my soul is fixed, and 
the thing grows greater, and broader, and 
clearer ; and 1 have it all in my head, even 
when the piece is a long one, and I see it like 
a beautiful picture, not hearing the different 
parts in succession, as they must be played, 
but the whole at once. That is the delight ! 
The composing and the making is like a beau- 
tiful and vivid dream, but this hearing of it, is 
the best of all." 

What is this but clear-seeing, backwards 
and forwards, the past and the future ? The 
one faculty is not a whit more surprising and 
incomprehensible than the other, to those who 
possess neither, only we see the material pro- 
duct of one, and therefore believe in it. But, 
as Passavent justly says, these corruscations 
belong not to genius exclusively : they are 
latent in all men. In the highly gifted, this 
divine spark becomes a flame to light the 
world withal: but even in the coarsest and 
least developed organizations, it may, and 
does momentarily break forth. The germ of 
the highest spiritual life is in the rudest, 
according to its degree, as well as in the highest 
form of man we have yet seen ; he is but a 
more imperfect type of the race, in whom this 
spiritual germ has not unfolded itself. 

VOL. i. 2 L 


Then, with respect to our second source of 
information, I am quite aware that it is equally 
difficult to establish its validity ; but theie 
are a few arguments in our favour here, too. 
In the first place, as Dr. Johnson says, though 
all reason is against us, all tradition is for us; 
and this conformity of tradition is surely of 
some weight, since I think it would be diffi- 
cult to find any parallel instance, of a universal 
tradition that was entirely without a founda- 
tion in truth ; for with respect to witchcraft, 
the belief in which is equally universal, we 
now know that the phenomena were generally 
facts, although the interpretations put upon 
them were fables. It may certainly be objected 
that this universal belief in ghosts only arises 
from the universal prevalence of spectral illu- 
sions, but, if so, as I have before observed, 
these spectral illusions become a subject of 
very curious enquiry, for, in the first place, 
they frequently occur under circumstances the 
least likely to induce them, and to people whom 
we should least expect to find the victims of 
them ; and, in the second, there is a most re- 
markable conformity here, too, not only 
between the individual eases occurring amongst 
all classes of persons, who had never exhibited 
the slightest tendency to, nervous derangement 


or somnambulism, hut also between these and 
the revelations of the somnambules. In short, 
it seems to me that life is reduced to a mere 
phantasmagoria, if spectral illusions are so 
prevalent, so complicated in their nature, and 
so delusive as they must be, if all the instances 
of ghost-seeing that come before us are to be 
referred to that theory. How numerous these 
are, I confess myself not to have had the least 
idea, till my attention was directed to the 
enquiry ; and that these instances have been 
equally frequent in all periods and places, we 
cannot doubt, from the variety of persons that 
have given in their adhesion, or at least that 
have admitted, as Addison did, that he could 
not refuse the universal testimony in favour of 
the re-appearance of the dead, strengthened by 
that of many credible persons with whom he 
was acquainted. Indeed, the testimony in 
favour of the facts has been at all periods too 
strong to be wholly rejected, so that even the 
materialists, like Lucretius and the elder 
Pliny, find themselves obliged to acknowledge 
them, whilst, on the other hand, the extrava- 
gant admissions that are demanded of us by 
those who endeavour to explain them away, 
prove that their disbelief rests on no more solid 
foundation than their own prejudices. I ac- 


knowledge all the difficulty of establishing the 
facts, such difficulties as indeed encompass few 
other branches of enquiry; bull maintain that 
the position of the opponents is still worse, 
although, by their high tone, and their con- 
temptuous laugh, they assume to have taken 
up one that, being fortified by reason, is quite 
impregnable, forgetting that the wisdom of 
man is preeminently " foolishness before God," 
when it wanders into this region of unknown 
things. Forgetting, also, that they are just 
serving this branch of enquiry, as their prede- 
cessors, whom they laugh at, did physiology ; 
concocting their systems out of their own 
brains, instead of the responses of nature ; and 
with still more rashness and presumption, this 
department of her kingdom being more inac- 
cessible, more incapable of demonstration, and 
more entirely beyond our controul ; for these 
spirits will not " come when we do call them ;" 
and, I confess, it often surprises me to hear 
the very shallow nonsense that very clever men 
talk upon the subject, and the inefficient argu- 
ments they use to disprove what they know 
nothing about. I am quite conscious that the 
facts I shall adduce are open to controversy ; 
I can bring forward no evidence that will 
satisfy a scientific mind ; but neither are my 


opponents a whit better fortified. All I do 
hope to establish is, not a proof, but a pre- 
sumption ; and the conviction I desire to 
awaken in people's minds, is, not that these 
things are so, but that they may be so, and that 
it is well worth our while to enquire whether 
they are or not. 

It will be seen, that these views of a future 
state are extremely similar to those of Isaac 
Taylor, as suggested in his physical theory of 
another life at least, as far as he has entered 
upon the subject and it is natural that they 
should be so, because he seems also to have 
been a convert to the opinion, that "the dead 
do sometimes break through the boundaries 
that hem in the etherial crowds ; and if so, as 
if by trespass, may in single instances infringe 
upon the ground of common corporeal life." 

Let us now fancy this dispossessed soul en- 
tering on its new career, amazed, and no more 
able than when it was in the body to accommo- 
date itself at once to conditions of existence, 
for which it was unprepared. If its aspi- 
rations had previously been heavenward, these 
conditions would not be altogether new, and it 
would speedily find itself at home in a sphere 
in which it had dwelt before ; for, as I have 
formerly said, a spirit must be where its 
2 L S 


thoughts and affections are, and the soul, 
whose thoughts and affections had been 
directed to heaven, would only awaken after 
death into a more perfect and unclouded 
heaven. But imagine the contrary of all this. 
Conceive what this awakening must be to an 
earth-bound spirit to one altogether unpre- 
pared for its new home carrying no light 
within it floating in the dim obscure cling- 
ing to the earth, where all its affections were 
garnered up ; for where its treasure is, there 
shall it be also. It will find its condition evil, 
more or less, according to the degree of its 
moral light or darkness, and in proportion to 
the amount of the darkness will be its inca- 
pacity to seek for light. "Now, there seems 
nothing offensive to our notions of the Divine 
goodness in this conception of what awaits us 
when the body dies. It appears to me, on the 
contrary, to offer a more comprehensible and 
coherent view than any other that has been 
presented to me ; yet, the state I have de- 
picted is very much the Hades of the Greeks 
and Romans. It is the middle state, on 
which all souls enter, a state in which 
there are many mansions that is, there are 
innumerable states probably not permanent, 
but ever progressive or retrograde ; for we can- 


not conceive of any moral state being perma* 
nent, since we know perfectly well that ours is 
never so : it is always advancing or retroceding. 
When we are not improving, we are deterio- 
rating ; and so it must necessarily be with us 

Now, if we admit the probability of this 
middle state, we have removed one of the great 
objections which are made to the belief in the 
re-appearance of the dead ; namely, that the 
blest are too happy to return to the earth, and 
that the wicked have it not in their power to 
do so. This difficulty arises, however, very 
much from the material ideas' entertained of 
Heaven and Hell the notion that they are 
places instead of states. I am told that the 
Greek word Hades is derived from aides, in- 
visible ; and that the Hebrew word Scheol, 
which has the same signification, also implies 
a state, not a place; since it may be inter- 
preted into desiring, longing, asking, praying. 
These words in the Septuagint, are transla- 
ted by grave, death, or hell ; but previously to 
the Reformation, they seem to have borne 
their original meaning ; that is, the state into 
which the soul entered at the death of the body. 
It was probably to get rid of the purgatory of 
the Roman Church, which had doubtless be- 


coine the source of many absurd notions and 
corrupt practices, that the doctrine of a middle 
state or Hades was set aside ; besides which 
the honest desire for reformation in all refor- 
ming churches, being alloyed by the odium 
theologicum, the purifying besom is apt to 
take too discursive a sweep, exercising less 
modesty and discrimination than might be de- 
sirable; and thus not uncommonly wiping 
away truth and falsehood together. 

Dismissing the idea, therefore, that Heaven 
and Hell are places in which the soul is im- 
prisoned, whether in bliss or woe, and, sup- 
posing that, by a magnetic relation, it may 
remain connected with the sphere to which it 
previously belonged, we may easily conceive 
that, if it have the memory of the past, the 
more entirely sensuous its life in the body may 
have been, the closer it will cling to the scene 
of its former joys ; or, even if its sojourn on 
earth were not a period of joy, but the con- 
trary, still, if it have no heavenward aspira- 
tions, it will find itself, if not in actual woe, 
yet aimless, objectless, and out of a congenial 
element. It has no longer the organs whereby 
it perceived, communicated with, and enjoyed 
the material world and its pleasures. The joys 
of Heaven are not its joys; we might as well 


expect a hardened prisoner in Newgate, asso- 
ciating with others as hardened as himself, to 
melt into extatic delight at the idea of that 
which he cannot apprehend! How helpless 
and inefficient such a condition seems, and 
how natural it is to us to imagine that, under 
such circumstances, there might be awakened 
a considerable desire to manifest itself to those 
yet living in the flesh, if such a manifestation 
be possible ! And what right have we, in direct 
contradiction to all tradition, to assert that it 
is not ? We may raise up a variety of objec- 
tions from physical science, but we cannot be 
sure that these are applicable to the case ; and 
of the laws of spirit we know very little, since 
we are only acquainted with it as circum- 
scribed, confined, and impeded in its opera- 
tions by the body ; and whenever such abnormal 
states occur as enable it to act with any degree 
of independence, man, under the dominion of 
his all-sufficient reason, denies and disowns 
the facts. That the manifestation of a spirit 
to the living, whether seen or heard, is an 
exception, and not the rule, is evident; for, 
supposing the desire to exist at all, it must 
exist in millions and millions of instances 
which never take effect. The circumstances 
must, therefore, no doubt be very peculiar, as 


regards both parties in which such a manifes- 
tation is possible ; what these are we have very 
little means of knowing, but, as far as we do 
know, we are led to conclude that a certain 
magnetic rapport or polarity constitute this 
condition, whilst, at the same time, as regards 
the seer, there must be what the prophet called 
the " opening of the eye" which may, perhaps, 
signify the seeing of the spirit without the aid 
of the bodily organ, a condition which may 
temporarily occur to any one under we know 
not what influence, but which seems, to a cer- 
tain degree, hereditary in some families. 

The following passage is quoted from Sir 
William Hamilton's edition of Dr. Reid's 
works, published in 1846: 

"No man can show it to be impossible to 
the Supreme Being to have given us the power 
of perceiving external objects, without any 
such organs" e. e., our organs of sense. " We 
have reason to believe that when we put off 
these bodies, and all the organs belonging to 
them, our perceptive powers shall rather be 
improved than destroyed or impaired. We 
have reason to believe that the Supreme Being 
perceives everything in a much more perfect 
manner than we do, without bodily organs. 
We have reason to believe that there are other 


created beings endowed with powers of per- 
ception more perfect and more extensive than 
ours, without any such organs as we find ne- 
cessary ;" and Sir William Hamilton adds the 
following note: 

" However astonishing, it is now proved be- 
yond all rational doubt, that in certain abnor- 
mal states of the nervous organism, perceptions 
are possible through other than the ordinary 
channels of the senses." 

Of the existence of this faculty in nature, 
any one, who chooses, may satisfy himself by 
a very moderate degree of trouble, provided 
he undertake the investigation honestly ; and 
this being granted, another objection, if not 
altogether removed, is considerably weakened. 
I allude to the fact, that in numerous reported 
cases of ghost-seeing, the forms were visible 
to only one person, even though others were 
present, which, of course, rendered them un- 
distinguishable from cases of spectral illusion, 
and indeed unless some additional evidence be 
afforded, they must remain so still, only we 
have gained thus much, that this objection is 
no longer unanswerable ; for whether the 
phenomenon is to be referred to a mutual rap- 
port, or to the opening of the spiritual eye, we 
comprehend how one may see what others do 


not. But really, if the seeing depended upon 
ordinary vision, I cannot perceive that the 
difficulty is insurmountable ; for we perfectly 
well know that some people are endowed with 
an acuteness of sense, or power of perception, 
which is utterly incomprehensible to others : 
for without entering into the disputed region 
of clear -seeing, everybody must have met with 
instances of those strange antipathies to certain 
objects, accompanied by an extraordinary ca- 
pacity for perceiving their presence, which 
remain utterly unexplained. Not to speak of 
cats and hares, where some electrical effects 
might be conceived, I lately heard of a gentle- 
man who fainted if he were introduced into a 
room where there was a raspberry tart ; and 
that there have been persons endowed with a 
faculty for discovering the proximity of water 
and metals, even without the aid of the 
divining rod which latter marvel seems to be 
now clearly established as an electrical pheno- 
menon, will scarcely admit of further doubt. 
A very eminent person, with whom I am ac- 
quainted, possessing extremely acute olfactory 
powers, is the subject of one single exception. 
He is insensible to the odour of a bean -field, 
however potent: but it would surely be very 
absurd in him to deny that the bean-field 



emits an odour, and the evidence of the ma- 
jority against him is too strong to admit of 
his doing so. Now, we have only the evi- 
dence of a minority with regard to the ex- 
istence of certain faculties not generally de- 
veloped, but surely it argues great presumption 
to dispute their possibility. We might, I 
think, with more appearance of reason, insist 
upon it that my friend mud be mistaken, and 
that he does smell the bean-field ; for we 
have the majority against him there, most 
decidedly. The difference is, that nobody cares 
whether the odour of the bean-field is per- 
ceptible or not: but if the same gentleman 
asserted that he had seen a ghost, beyond all 
doubt, his word would be disputed. 

Though we do not know what the condi- 
tions are that dev elope the faculty of what St. 
Paul calls the discerning of spirits, there is 
reason to believe that the approach of death is 
one. I have heard of too many instances of 
this kind, where the departing person has 
been in the entire possession of his or her fa- 
culties, to doubt that in our last moments we 
are frequently visited by those who have gone 
before us, and it being admitted by all physi- 
ologists, that preternatural faculties are some- 
times exhibited at this period, we can have 

VOL. i. 2 M 


no right to say that " the discerning of spirits" 
is not one of them. 

There is an interesting story recorded by 
Beaumont, in his "World of Spirits," and 
quoted by Dr. Hibbert with the remark, that 
no reasonable doubt can be placed on the au- 
thenticity of the narrative, as it was drawn up 
by the Bishop of Gloucester from the recital of 
the young lady's father ; and I mention it here 
not for any singularity attending it, but first 
because its authenticity is admitted, and next 
on account of the manner in which, so much 
being granted, the fact is attempted to t>e ex- 
plained away. 

" Sir Charles Lee, by hi first lady, had only 
one daughter, of which she died in child-birth, 
and when she was dead, her sister, the Lady 
Everard, desired to. have the education of the 
child, and she was very well educated till she 
was marriageable, and a match was concluded 
for her w^th Sir W. Parkins, but was then 
prevented in an extraordinary manner. Upon 
a Thursday night, she thinking she saw a light 
in her chamber after she was in bed, knocked 
for her maid, who presently came to her,, and 
she asked, ' Why she left a candle burning in 
her room ?' The maid answered, that she had 
none, and that there was none but what 


she had brought with her at that time ;' then, 
she said, it must be the fire; but that her 
maid told her, was quite out, adding she 
believed it was only a dream, whereupon 
Miss Lee answered, it might be so, and com- 
posed herself again to sleep. But, about two 
of the clock, she was awakened again, and 
saw the apparition of a little woman between 
her curtains and her pillow, who told her 
she was her mother, that she was happy, and 
that, by twelve of the clock that day, she 
should be with her. Whereupon, she knocked 
again for her maid, called for her clothes, and 
when she was dressed, went into her closet, 
and came not out again till nine, and then 
brought out with her a letter, sealed, to her 
father, carried it to her aunt, the Lady Everard, 
told her what had happened, and desired that 
as soon as she was dead it might be sent to 
him. The lady thought she was suddenly 
fallen mad^ and therefore sent presently away 
to Chelmsfoixl, for a physician and surgeon, 
who both came immediately^ but the physician 
could discern no indication of what the lady 
imagined, or of any indisposition of her body ; 
notwithstanding, the lady would needs have 
her let blood, which was done accordingly ; 
and when the young woman had patiently 


let them do what they would with her, she 
desired that the chaplain might be called to 
read prayers ; and when prayers were ended, 
she took her guitar and psalm-book, and sat 
down upon a chair without arms, and played 
and sung so melodiously and admirably, 
that her music-master, who was then there, 
admired at it ; and near the stroke of twelve, 
she rose and sat herself down in a great chair 
with arms, and presently fetching a strong 
breathing or two, she immediately expired, and 
was so suddenly cold as was much wondered 
at by the physician and surgeon. She died at 
Waltham, in Essex, three miles from Chelrns- 
ford, and the letter was sent to Sir Charles, at 
his house, in Warwickshire ; but he was so 
afflicted at the death of his daughter, that he 
came not till she was buried : but when he 
came, he caused her to be taken up, and to be 
buried with her mother, at Edmonton, as she 
desired in her letter." 

This circumstance occurred in the year 1662, 
and is, as Dr. Hibbert observes, " one of the 
most interesting ghost-stories on record /' yet 
he insists on placing it under the category of 
spectral illusions, upon the plea, that let the 
physician, whose skill he arraigns, say what 
he would, her death within so short a period, 


proves that she must have been indisposed at 
the time she saw the vision, and that probably 
" the languishing female herself might have 
unintentionally contributed to the more strict 
verification of the ghost's prediction,' 1 con- 
cluding with these words, " all that can be 
said of it is, that the coincidence was a for- 
tunate one; for without it, the story would, 
probably, never have met with a recorder, 1 ' 
&c. &c. 

Now, I ask if this is a fair way of treating 
any fact, transmitted to us on authority, which 
the objector himself admits to be perfectly 
satisfactory ; more especially, as the assistants 
on the occasion appear to have been quite as 
unwilling to believe in the supernatural inter- 
pretation of it, as Dr. H. could have been 
himself, had he been present ; for what more 
could he have done than conclude the young 
lady to be mad> and bled her ? a line of prac- 
tice which is precisely what would be followed 
at the present time ; and which proves that 
they were very well aware of the sensuous 
illusions produced by a disordered state of the 
nervous system ; and with respect to his con- 
clusion that the "languishing female" con- 
tributed to the verification of the prediction, 
we are entitled to ask, where is the proof that 
2 M 5 


she was languishing ? A very clever watch- 
maker once told me, that a watch may go per- 
fectly well for years and at length stop sud- 
denly, in consequence of an organic defect in 
its construction, which only becomes percep- 
tible, even to the eye of a watchmaker, when 
this effect takes place ; and we do know that 
many persons have suddenly fallen dead im- 
mediately after declaring themselves in the 
best possible health; and we have therefore 
no right to dispute what the narrator 
implies, namely, that there were no sensible 
indications of the impending catastrophe. 

There either was some organic defect or 
derangement in this lady's physical economy, 
which rendered her death inevitable at the 
hour of noon, on that particular Thursday, or 
there was not. If there were, and her certain 
death was impending at that hour, how came 
she acquainted with the fact ? Surely, it ,is a 
monstrous assumption to say, that it was " a 
fortunate coincidence," when no reason what- 
ever is given us for concluding that she felt 
otherwise than perfectly well ? If, on the con- 
trary, we are to take refuge in the supposition 
that there was no death impending, and that 
she only died of the fright, how came she- 
feeling perfectly well, and, in this case, we have 


a right to conclude being perfectly well, to be 
the subject of such an extraordinary spectral 
illusion ? And if such spectral illusions can 
occur to people in a good normal state of 
health, does it not become very desirable to 
give us some clearer theory of them than we 
have at present. But there is a third presump- 
tion to which the sceptical may have recourse, 
in order to get rid of-this well established, and 
therefore very troublesome fact, namely, that 
Miss Lee was ill, although unconscious of it 
herself, and indicating no symptoms that 
could guide her physician to an enlightened 
diagnosis ; and that the proof of this is to be 
found in the occurrence oi the spectral illusion, 
and that this spectral illusion so impressed her, 
that it occasioned the precise fulfilment of the 
imaginary prediction, an hypothesis which 
appears to me to be pressing very hard on the 
spectral illusion ; for it is first called upon to 
establish the fact of an existing indisposition 
of no slight character, of which neither patient 
or physician were aware ; and it is next re- 
quired to kill the lady with unerring certainty, 
at the hour appointed, she being, according to 
the only authority we have for the story, in 
a perfectly calm and composed state of mind ! 
for there is nothing to be discerned in the 


description of her demeanour but an entire and 
willing submission to the announced decree, 
accompanied by that pleasing exaltation, which 
appears to me perfectly natural under the cir- 
cumstances ; and I do not think that anything 
we know of human vitality can justify us in 
believing that life can be so easily extin- 
guished. But to such straights people are re- 
duced, who write with a predetermination to 
place their iacts on a Procrustian bed, till they 
have fitted them into their own cherished 

In the above recorded case of Miss Lee, the 
motive for the visit is a sufficient one ; but 
one of the commonest objections to such nar- 
rations, is the insignificance of the motive 
when any communication is made, or there 
being apparently no motive at all, when none 
is made. Where any previous attachment has 
subsisted, we need seek no further for an im- 
pelling cause ; but, in other cases, this im- 
pelling cause must probably be sought in the 
earthly rapport still subsisting and the urgent 
desire of the spirit to manifest itself and 
establish a communication where its thoughts 
and affections still reside ; and we must con- 
sider that, provided there be no law of God 
prohibiting its revisiting the earth, which law 


would of course supersede all other laws, then, 
as I have before observed, where its thoughts 
and affections are, it must be also. What is 
it but our heavy material bodies that prevents 
us from being where our thoughts are ? But 
the being near us, and the manifesting itself 
to us, are two very different things, the latter 
evidently depending on conditions we do not 
yet understand. As I am not writing a book 
on vital magnetism, and there are so many 
already accessible to every body who chooses to 
be informed on it, I shall not here enter into the 
subject of magnetic rapport, it being, I believe, 
now generally admitted, except by the most 
obstinate sceptics, that such a relation can be 
established betwixt two human beings. In 
what this relation consists, is a more difficult 
question, but the most rational view ap- 
pears to be that of a magnetic polarity 
which is attempted to be explained by two 
theories the dynamical and the etherial : the 
one viewing the phenomena as simply the 
result of the transmission of forces, the other 
hypothetising an ether which pervades all 
space, and penetrates all substance, maintaining 
the connexion betwixt body and soul, and be- 
twixt matter and spirit. To most minds, this 
last hypothesis will be the most comprehen- 


sible ; on which account, since the result would 
be the same in either case, we may adopt it 
for the moment ; and there will then be less 
difficulty in conceiving that the influence or 
ether of every being or thing, animate or in- 
animate) must extend beyond the periphery of 
its own terminations : and that this must be 
eminently the case where there is animal life, 
the nerves forming the readiest conductors for 
this supposed imponderable. The proofs of 
the existence of this ether are said to be mani- 
fold, and more especially to be found in the 
circumstances that every created thing sheds 
an atmosphere around it, after its kind ; this 
atmosphere becoming) under certain con- 
ditions, perceptible or even visible, as in the 
instances of electric fish, &c., the fascinations 
of serpents, the influence of human beings 
upon plants, and vice versa ; and finally, the 
phenomena of animal magnetism, and the un- 
doubted fact, to which I myself can bear wit- 
ness, that the most ignorant girls, when in a 
state of soirinambulismj have been known to 
declare that they saw their magnetiser sur- 1 
rounded by a halo of light; audit is doubtless 
this halo of light, that, from their being strongly 
magnetic men, has frequently been observed 
to surround the heads of saints and eminently 


holy persons: the temperament that produced 
the internal fervour, causing the visible mani- 
festation of it. By means of this ether, or 
force, a never-ceasing motion and an inter- 
communication is sustained betwixt all created 
things, and betwixt created things and their 
Creator, who sustains them and creates them 
ever anew, by the constant exertion of his 
Divine will, of which this is the messenger 
and the agent, as it is betwixt our will and our 
own bodies j and without this sustaining will, 
so exerted, the whole would fall away, dissolve 
and die ; for it is the life of the universe. 
That all inanimate objects emit an influence, 
greater or less, extending beyond their own 
peripheries is established by their effects on 
various susceptible individuals, as well as on 
somnainbules ; and thus there exists a uni- 
versal polarity and rapport, which is however 
stronger betwixt certain organisms ; and every 
being stands in a varying relation of positive 
and negative to every other. 

With regard to these theories, however, 
where there is so much obscurity, even in the 
language, I do not wish to insist ; more espe- 
cially as I am fully aware that this subject 
may be discussed in a manner much more con- 
gruous with the dynamical spirit of the philo- 


sophy of this century : but, in the meanwhile, 
as either of the causes alluded to is capable 
of producing the effects, we adopt the hypo- 
thesis of an all-pervading ether, as the one 
most easily conceived. 

Admitting this then to be the case, we begin 
to have some notion of the modus operand} , by 
which a spirit may manifest itself to us, whether 
to our internal universal sense, or even to our 
sensuous organs ; and we also find one stum- 
bling block removed out of our way, namely, 
that it shall be visible or even audible to one 
person and not to another, or at one time and 
not at another ; for by means of this ether, or 
force, we are in communication with all spirit, 
as well as with all matter ; and since it is the 
vehicle of will, a strong exertion of will may 
reinforce its influence to a degree far beyond 
our ordinary conceptions : but man is not ac- 
quainted with his own power, and has conse- 
quently no faith in his own will : nor is it 
probably the design of Providence, in ordinary 
cases, that he should. He cannot therefore 
exert it ; if he could, he " might remove 
mountains." Even as it is, we know some- 
thing of the power of will in its effect on other 
organisms, as exhibited by certain strong- 
willed individuals ; also in popular movements, / 


and more manifestly in the influence and far- 
working of the magnetiser on his patient. 
The power of will, like the seeing of the 
spirit, is latent in our nature, to be developed 
in God's own time ; but meanwhile, slight ex- 
amples are found, shooting up here and there, 
to keep alive in man the consciousness that 
he is a spirit, and give evidence of his divine 

What especial laws may appertain to this 
supersensuous domain of nature, of course we 
cannot know, and it is therefore impossible for 
us to pronounce how far a spirit is free, or not 
free, at all times to manifest itself; and we 
can, therefore, at present, advance no reason 
for these manifestations not being the rule 
instead of the exception. The law which 
restrains more frequent intercourse, may, for 
anything we know to the contrary, have its 
relaxations and its limitations, founded in 
nature ; and a rapport with, or the power of 
acting on, particular individuals, may arise 
from causes of which we are equally ignorant. 
Undoubtedly, the receptivity of the corporeal 
being is one of the necessary conditions, 
whilst, on the part of the incorporeal, the will is 
at once the cause and the agent that produces 
the effect; whilst attachment, whether to 

VOL. I. 2 N 


individuals or to the lost joys of this world, is 
the motive. The happy spirits in whom this 
latter impulse is weak, and who would float 
away into the glorious light of the pure moral 
law, would have little temptation to return ; 
and at least would only be brought back by 
their holy affections or desire to serve mankind. 
The less happy, clinging to their dear cor- 
poreal life, would hover nearer to the earth ; 
and I do question much whether the often 
ridiculed idea of the mystics, that there is a 
moral weight, as well as a moral dark ness, be 
not founded in truth. We know very well 
that even these substantial bodies of ours, are, 
to our own sensations (and, very possibly, if 
the thing cou}d be tested, would prove to be 
in fact) lighter or heavier, according to the 
lightness or heaviness of the spirit terms used 
figuratively, but perhaps capable of a literal 
interpretation ; and thus the common idea of 
up and down, as applied to Heaven or Hell, 
is founded in truth, though not mathematically 
correct, we familiarly using the words up and 
down to express farther or nearer, as regards 
the planet on which we live. 

Experience seems to justify this view of the 
case ; for, supposing the phenomena I am 
treating of to be facts, and not spectral 


illusions, all tradition shows that the spirits 
most frequently manifested to man, have been 
evidently not in a state of bliss ; whilst, when 
bright ones appeared, it has been to serve 
him ; and hence the old persuasion that they 
were chiefly the wicked that haunted the 
earth, and hence, also, the foundation for the 
belief that not only the murderer, but the mur- 
dered, returned to vex the living ; and the 
just view, that in taking away life the injury 
is not confined to the body, but extends to 
the surprised and angry soul, which is 

" Cut off, even in the blossom of its sin, 
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unaneal'd; 
No reckoning made, but sent to its account 
With all its imperfections on its head." 

It seems also to be gathered from experience, 
that those whose lives have been rendered 
wretched, " rest not in their graves," at least, 
several accounts I have met with, as well as 
tradition, countenance this view ; and this 
may originate in the fact, that cruelty and ill- 
usage frequently produce very pernicious 
effects on the mind of the sufferer, in many 
instances inspiring, not resignation or a pious 
desire for death, but resentment, and an eager 
longing for a fair share of earthly enjoyment. 


Supposing, also, the feelings and prejudices of 
the earthly life to accompany this dispossessed 
soul for, though the liberation from the body 
inducts it into certain privileges inherent in 
spirit, its moral qualities remain as they were, 
as the tree falls, so it shall lie supposing, 
therefore, that these feelings, and prejudices, 
and recollections of its past life, are carried 
with it, we see, at once, why the discontented 
spirits of the Heathen world could not rest 
till their bodies had obtained sepulture, why 
the buried money should torment the soul of 
the miser, and why the religious opinions, 
whatever they may have been, believed in the 
flesh, seem to survive with the spirit. There 
are two remarkable exceptions, however, and 
these are precisely such as might be expected. 
Those who, during their corporeal life, have 
not believed in a future state, return to warn 
their friends against the same error. "There 
is another world," said the brother of the 
young lady who appeared to her in the Ca- 
thedral of York, on the day he was drowned ; 
and there are several similar instances re- 
corded. The belief that this life " is the be-all 
and the end-all here," is a mistake that death 
must instantly rectify. The other exception 
I allude to is, that that toleration, of which, 


unfortunately, we see much less than is de- 
sirable in this world, seems happily to prevail 
in the next ; for, amongst the numerous nar- 
rations I meet with, in which the dead have 
returned to ask the prayers or the services of 
the living-, they do not seem, as will be seen 
by and by, to apply by any means exclusively, 
to members of their own church. The atlratt 
which seems to guide their selection of indi- 
viduals, is evidently not of a polemical nature. 
The pure worship of God, and the inexorable 
moral law, are what seem to prevail in the 
other world, and not the dogmatic theology 
which makes so much of the misery of this. 

There is a fundamental truth in all religious ; 
the real end of all is morality, however 
the means may be mistaken, and however 
corrupt, selfish, ambitious, and sectarian the 
mass of their teachers may, and generally do, 
become ; whilst the effect of prayer, in what- 
ever form, or to whatever ideal of the Deity, 
it may 'be offered, provided that offering be 
honestly and earnestly made, is precisely the 
same to the supplicant and in its results. 

I have reserved the following story, which 
is not a fiction, but the relation of an undoubted 
and well-attested fact, till the present chapter, 
2 N 5 


fis being particularly applicable to this branch 
of my subject. 

Some ninety years ago, there flourished in Glas- 
gow a club of young men, which, from the ex- 
treme profligacy of its members and the licen- 
tiousness of their orgies, was commonly called 
the Hell Club. Besides their nightly or weekly 
meetings, they held one grand annual satur- 
nalia, in which each tried to excel the other 
in drunkenness and blasphemy ; and on these 
occasions there was no star amongst them whose 
lurid light was more conspicuous than that of 
young Mr. Archibald B., who, endowed with 
brilliant talents and a handsome person, had 
held out great promise in his boyhood, and 
raised hopes, which had been completely frus- 
trated by his subsequent reckless dissipations. 
One morning, after returning from this 
annual festival, Mr. Archibald B. having 
retired to bed, dreamt the following dream : 
He fancied that he himself was mounted on 
a favourite black horse, that he always rode, 
and that he was proceeding towards his own 
. house, then a country seat embowered by trees, 
and situated upon a hill, now entirely built 
over, and forming part of the city, when a 
stranger, whom the darkness of night 
prevented his distinctly discerning, suddenly 


seized his horse's rein, saying, " You must go 
with me!" 

"And who are you?" exclaimed the young 
man, with a volley of oaths, whilst he struggled 
to free himself. 

" That you will see by and by," returned 
the other, in a tone that excited unaccount- 
able terror in the youth, who plunging his 
spurs into his horse, attempted to fly. But in 
vain : however fast the animal flew, the 
stranger was still beside him, till at length in 
his desperate efforts to escape, the rider was 
thrown, but instead of being dashed to the 
earth, as he expected, he found himself falling 
falling falling still, as if sinking into the 
bowels of the earth. 

At length, a period being put to this mys- 
terious descent, he found breath to enquire 
of his companion, who was still beside him, 
whither they were going ; " Where am I ? 
Where are you taking me ?" he exclaimed. 

" To Hell !" replied the stranger, and imme- 
diately interminable echoes repeated the fearful 
sound, " To Hell ! to Hell ! to Hell!'* 

At length a light appeared, which soon 
increased to a blaze ; but, instead of the cries, 
and groans, and lamentings, the terrified tra- 
veller expected, nothing met his ear but sounds 


of music, mirth, and jollity; and he found 
himself at the entrance of a superb building-, 
far excee'ding any he had seen constructed by 
human hands. Within, too, what a scene ! 
No amusement, employment, or pursuit of man 
en earth, but was here being carried on with 
a vehemence that excited his unutterable 
amazement. " There the young and lovely 
still swam through the mazes of the giddy 
dance ! There the panting steed still bore his 
brutal rider through the excitements of the 
goaded race ! There, over the midnight bowl, 
the intemperate still drawled out the wanton 
song or maudlin blasphemy ! The gam- 
bler plied for ever his endless game, and 
the slaves of Mammon toiled through eternity 
their bitter task ; whilst all the magnificence 
of earth paled before that which now met his 
view !" 

He soon perceived that he was amongst old 
acquaintance, whom he knew to be dead, and 
each he observed, was pursuing the object, 
whatever it was, that had formerly engrossed 
him ; when, finding himself relieved of the pre- 
sence of his unwelcome conductor, he ventured 
to address his former friend Mrs. D., whom he 
saw sitting, as had been her wont on earth, 
absorbed at loo, requesting her to rest from the 


game, and introduce him to the pleasures of 
the place, which appeared to him to he very 
unlike what he had expected, and, indeed, an 
extremely agreeable one. But, with a cry of 
agony, she answered, that there was no rest 
in Hell ; that they must ever toil on at those 
very pleasures ; and innumerable voices echoed 
through the interminable vaults, " There is no 
rest in Hell !" Whilst, throwing open their 
vests, each disclosed in his bosom an ever- 
burning flame ! These, they said, were the 
pleasures of Hell ; their choice on earth was 
now their inevitable doom ! In the midst of 
the horror this scene inspired, his conductor 
returned, and, at his earnest entreaty, restored 
him again to earth ; but, as he quitted him, 
he said, " Remember ! In a year and a day 
we meet again P' 

At this crisis of his dream, the sleeper 
awoke, feverish and ill ; and, whether from the 
effect of the dream, or of his preceding orgies, 
he was so unwell as to be obliged to keep his 
bed for several days, during which period he 
had time for many serious reflections, which 
terminated in a resolution to abandon the 
club and his licentious companions altogether. 

He was no sooner well, however, than they 
flocked around him, bent on recovering so valu- 


able a member of their society ; and having 
wrung from him a confession of the cause of his 
defection, which, as may be supposed, appeared 
to them eminently ridiculous, they soon con- 
trived to make him ashamed of his good reso- 
lutions; He joined them again, resumed his 
former course of life, and when the annual 
saturnalia came round, he found himself with 
his glass in his hand at the table, when the 
president, rising to make the accustomed 
speech, began with saying, ''Gentleman: 
This being leap-year, it is a year and a day 
since our last anniversary, &c. &c." The words 
struck upon the young man's ear like a knell ; 
but ashamed to expose his weakness to the 
jeers of his companions, he sat out the feast, 
plying himself with wine, even more liberally 
than usual, in order to drown his intrusive 
thoughts ; till, in the gloom of a winter's 
morning, he mounted his horse to ride home. 
Some hours afterwards, the horse was found 
with his saddle and bridle on, quietly grazing 
by the road-side, about half-way between the 
city and Mr. B.'s house ; whilst a few yards 
off, lay the corpse of his master. 

Now, as I have said, in introducing this 
story, it is no fiction : the circumstance hap- 
pened as here related. An account of it was 


published at the time, but the copies were 
bought up by the family. Two or three how- 
ever were preserved, and the narrative has 
been re-printed. 

The dream is evidently of a symbolical 
character ; and accords in a very remarkable 
degree with the conclusions to be drawn from 
the sources I have above indicated. The in- 
terpretation seems to be, that the evil passions 
and criminal pursuits which have been in- 
dulged in here become our curse hereafter. I 
do not mean to imply that the ordinary amuse- 
ments of life are criminal ; far from it. There 
is no harm in dancing, nor in playing at loo, 
either ; but if people make these things the 
whole business of their lives, and think of no- 
thing else, cultivating no higher tastes, nor 
forming no higher aspirations, what sort of 
preparation are they making for another world ? 
I can hardly imagine that anybody would 
wish to be doing these things to all eternity, 
the more especially that it is most frequently 
ennui that drives their votaries into excesses, 
even here; but if they have allowed their 
minds to be entirely absorbed in such frivolities 
and trivialties, surely they cannot expect that 
God will, by a miracle, suddenly obliterate 
these tastes and inclinations, and inspire them 


with others better suited to their new con- 
dition ! It was their business to do that for 
themselves, whilst here ; and such a process 
of preparation is not in the slightest degree 
inconsistent with the enjoyment of all manner 
of harmless pleasures ; on the contrary, it 
gives the greatest zest to them ; for a life, 
in which there is nothing serious, in which 
all is play and diversion, is, beyond all 
doubt, next to a life of active, persevering 
wickedness, the saddest thing under the sun ! 
But let everybody remember, that we see in 
nature no violent transitions ; everything ad- 
vances by almost insensible steps, at least 
everything that is to endure, and therefore 
to expect that because they have quitted their 
fleshly bodies, which they always knew were 
but a temporary appurtenance, doomed to 
perish and decay, they themselves are to 
undergo a sudden and miraculous conversion 
and purification, which is to elevate them 
into fit companions for the angels of Heaven, 
and the Blessed that have passed away, is 
surely one of the most inconsistent, unreason- 
able, and pernicious errors that mankind ever 
indulged in ! 



WHILST this volume is going through the 
press, I find, from the account of Dr. Cheyne, 
who attended him, that Colonel Townshend's 
own way of describing the phenomenon to 
which he was subject, was, that he could " die 
or expire when he pleased ; and yet, by an 
effort, or somehow, he could come to life again." 
He performed the experiment in the presence 
of three medical men, one of whom kept his 
hand on his heart, another held his wrist, 
and the third placed a looking-glass before his 
lips, and they found that all traces of respira- 
tion and pulsation gradually ceased, insomuch 
VOL. i. 2 o 


that, after consulting about his condition for 
some time, they were leaving the room, per- 
suaded that he was really dead, when signs of 
life appeared, and he slowly revived. He did 
not die whilst repeating this experiment. 

This reviving "by an effort or somehow," 
seems to be better explained by the hypothesis 
I have suggested than by any other ; namely 
that, as in the case of Mr. Holloway, men- 
tioned in the same chapter, his spirit, or soul, 
was released from his body, but a sufficient 
rapport maintained to re-unite them. 


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